From left: Kate Hardie, Eden Bigham, Amanda Lawhorn and Emily Coates.

Four Rustburg High School student athletes featured in a signing day on November 10 at the school. They included Eden Bigham (University of Virginia, softball), Emily Coates (Liberty University, track & field), Kate Hardie (Mercer University, beach volleyball), and Amanda Lawhorn (Averett University, softball). They are a talented group, all claiming at least one state championship. Two of them have won state gold in multiple sports.

Interim Athletic Director Ron Carter presented the students and summarized their athletic achievements and future plans.

Eden Bigham, ace pitcher for the Rustburg High School varsity softball program, will be continuing her pitching career with the ‘Hoos at the University of Virginia, where she has signed and plans to attend. She is a nationally ranked recruit and the top member of this year’s Cavaliers recruiting class. She led the Lady Red Devils team in her junior year to the 2021 state softball championship. She pitched four perfect games during the season, including one in the state championship final game. “Eden was recognized as a top pitcher in the state,” Carter noted. She has played varsity all through her high school career, and she is expected to “be a key participant in the upcoming season. She is also a member of the RHS volleyball team that is currently pursuing a second consecutive state championship,” Carter added at the ceremony last week. “Eden plans to pursue a major and career in the medical field.”

Emily Coates, 200-meter specialist for the Rustburg track and field program, has signed with Liberty University and will compete with the Lady Flames on an athletic scholarship. She is a two-time Track state champion, in the 4x200 relay in Indoor Track in 2020 and the 200-meter dash in the 2021 Outdoor track state championships. “She has been a member of the Varsity Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field program for four years,” Carter reported. She also played on Rustburg’s 2021 state champion softball squad. “Emily plans to study Real Estate and possibly Interior Design,” Carter stated.

Kate Hardie, ­­­­top-notch volleyball player, is heading to Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, where she will trade in the indoor court for the sands of beach volleyball. She will compete with the Lady Bears on a beach volleyball scholarship. She has been a four-year member of the Lady Red Devils volleyball team, including the 2020 state championship team and the 2021 state championship team. “Kate has been recognized as a top tier volleyball player at the district, region, and state levels,” Carter observed. “Kate plans to major in Kinesiology to become an Athletic Trainer or Physical Therapist.”

Amanda Lawhorn, catcher and left fielder for Lady Red Devils Softball program, will be joining the Averett University Lady Cougars and fulfilling her dream of competing in softball at the collegiate level. She has played with the Rustburg softball team throughout high school. She was a member of the 2021 State Championship team. She also competes with the Freedom Fast Pitcher Stars travel club. “Amanda plans to major in Psychology and Sports Communication,” Carter reported.

The Altavista Journal congratulates these talented student athletes for their dedication, years of hard work, and their strong representation of their school in the highest levels of VHSL sports.