Five Geraldine student-athletes gathered with family, friends and coaches on the gym court at Geraldine High School to celebrate the school’s spring signing day Monday afternoon.
Geraldine’s signees covered a range of sports from cross country to softball, basketball to rodeo.
The Times-Journal assembled a rundown of the five Geraldine student-athletes and their collegiate plans.
Anderson’s high ACT score helped him receive a scholarship to Calhoun Community College, while additionally creating an opportunity for him to continue his cross country career.
“What I liked about the school was it had a small, family community feel,” Anderson said. “I liked that they had a bunch of equipment that we don't have for cross country here.”
Anderson said cross country was a sport he warmed up to after being coaxed to join the program by friend Collin Mayfield.
“I started running and I was like, 'This is such a first,'” Anderson said, “but the more work you put into it, the better you get and that's what I like about it. It's a lot of fun.”
Anderson said he plans to study accounting. He’ll get a business degree from Calhoun then transfer to a university for his accounting degree.
Robin Bynum, coach of Geraldine’s track and field and cross country teams, said Anderson and Mayfield have been instrumental in helping bring other kids into the school’s track and cross country programs.
“It’s awesome. It’s humbling, but I’m very thankful,” she said. “These kids are just so deserving of every bit of this if not more.”
While visiting the University of West Alabama campus and taking a tour of its rodeo program, Hammett knew the school in Livingston was the right place for her to continue her love of rodeo while growing her education.
“I was put in the saddle probably on the day I was born,” she said. “I've been riding for as long as I can remember, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.”
Hammett, who was also a standout basketball and volleyball player at Geraldine, will join NCAA Division II West Alabama’s women’s rodeo team and compete in the competitive Gulf South Conference.
The senior said she plans to major in nursing, though added that she could still change her mind about the career plan.
Hammett was selected as a Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Program state award-winner this year in addition to her athletic and academic success.
“Just like with her and her rodeo, basketball was no different,” Geraldine girls basketball coach Jamie Gilbert said. “She was rough, she was tough, great work ethic. There wasn’t anything you asked her to do that she wouldn’t attempt to do. She’s just a winner.
“Not just basketball, not just rodeo, but just a super young lady from top to bottom. With her winning the Bryant-Jordan, that just tells me a lot about her being able to tackle any challenge and get over that and win at everything she does, and she’s going to win at life no doubt.”
Signing with Huntingdon College, Knight became the third DeKalb County male basketball player to join the program in Montgomery within the past month. Knight joined Fyffe’s Tate Goolesby and Fort Payne’s Lane White as fellow Huntingdon men’s basketball signees.
“This is what I’ve been working for since I was in eighth grade,” Knight said of signing day. “I’ve always dreamed of this day, so I’m just excited. I had a lot of good talks with the coaching staff, and then when I went on my visit there, it just felt like home to me.”
Knight said he will miss everything at Geraldine and that the school has been a home for him for more than four years of his life.
Geraldine boys basketball coach Jeremy Smith said he projects Knight, who is 6-foot-4, to play as a small forward to a power forward at Huntingdon.
“The big advantage we had with him is his versatility,” the coach said. “He could handle the ball, and he was probably one of the best passers we had too. He’s smart. His basketball IQ is so high that he was able to do a lot of different things for us.”
Knight was voted team captain by his basketball teammates at Geraldine.
“He’s a great example off the court, as far as behavior, attitude in the classroom, he works hard,” Smith said. “...He’s just a fine example of what we want to turn out.”
As a four-time state champion, Mayfield didn’t get to properly finish his senior season and chase more championship hardware due to injury, but he’s excited about his future.
Mayfield will join Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., and join the school’s men’s cross country and track and field teams.
“Running is what I love doing, I think about it every single day, so to get to compete for four more years is very exciting,” he said. “[Lee is] a Christian school, and that’s something that was important to me, out of a lot of the places I was looking at it was closer to home, and the team there is ranked sixth in the nation.”
Mayfield said he has career interests in business, communications and marketing.
As a sophomore, Mayfield won his first individual state championship in cross country. He added three individual state titles in track and field.
Mayfield, along with friend and teammate Anderson, garnered praise from Bynum for their contributions to Geraldine’s athletic programs.
“They’ve both worked really, really, really hard this year and the last three years,” Bynum said. “They were here when we started. They have helped peak my program. I’ve learned from them. They’ve taught me so much. I’m going to actually use some of their training plans that they’ve taught me to help the rest of my kids.”
Satterfield’s family has strong ties to Snead State Community College. It’s a place she’s attended softball camps. It’s where grandfather coached, where her mom and cousin played.
The connection made Snead an obvious choice for Satterfield in choosing where she wanted to play softball and advance her education.
“I’m feeling great,” she said on signing day. “I’ve loved playing softball for as long as I can remember, and I’m glad I get to continue on playing the sport I love after I wrap up my high school career, so I’m glad it doesn’t have to end right here.”
Satterfield said she will miss the atmosphere at Geraldine and seeing all of the support for softball at the school.
“And then playing with your friends you grew up with your whole life, that’s what I’m going to miss the most,” she said.
Julie West, Geraldine Elementary principal and former Geraldine softball coach, said Satterfield is one of those catchers who is always encouraging to her teammates, always there to lighten the mood.
“She’s the most coachable kid,” West said. “She takes constructive criticism well, she’s just a phenomenal person. We have a lot of umpires who will say at the end of the game, ‘Boy, I love your catcher. She keeps the mood light.’ She’s kind and just that kind of athlete you want to be around.
“We think a lot of Tinsley here, and she’s going to do big things at Snead and they’re lucky to have her. She’s going to have excellent coaching with coach Tracy Grindrod and Holli Mitchell.”
West said Satterfield served as a good role model for junior varsity and junior high players.
Sand Mountain Reporter sports editor Ron Balaskovitz and publisher Shannon J. Allen contributed to this report.