May 8, 2020
Prince Senior Athletes Sign to Play in College
Seven Prince Avenue senior athletes are committing this spring to play their respective sport at the college level.
Normally, these athletes would have a signing day complete with a formal ceremony, friends, family, and media attention. However, because of COVID-19, they must be celebrated from a distance.
Please join us in recognizing this wonderful achievement and thanking these athletes for all they have contributed to Prince athletics.
Caden Bush – Football – McPherson College
Caden Bush with his mother, Angela Decker
Caden Bush is signing as a kicker for football with McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas and plans to study digital media arts. Caden has attended Prince Avenue for 13 years and has played football for five years in lower school and two years in high school.
Caden would like to thank his mom for always supporting him and would like to thank Coach Cook for helping him learn and get to where he is. His advice for younger athletes is to keep working hard no matter the adversity.
Coach Vandagriff describes Caden’s story as inspiring. “Caden is one of those you pull for. Two years ago, we needed a kicker, and he was willing to try. He dedicated himself to his craft, and under Kendall Cook’s tutelage, earned himself a full-scholarship at McPherson College. I am super excited for him and for his family. This is what it all about! Seeing a need, committing yourself to doing your best, and allowing the recruiting process to take place. We know Caden will represent Prince Avenue well at the next level!”
Charlie Graffin – Soccer – Hamilton College
Paula, Charlie, and Scott Graffin
Charlie Graffin is signing to play soccer at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York and plans to major in physics. Charlie has attended Prince Avenue for seven years and has played soccer since the age of four.
Charlie would like to thank his coaches over the years, including Jose Rodriguez, Thomas Frey, Heath Padgett, Josh Wortel, and Jonathan Leathers. He would also like to thank his parents and his teammates. Charlie advises younger players to, “Play as much as you can on the highest level team you can and have fun.”
Coach Leathers describes Charlie as a true difference-maker for Prince Avenue’s soccer program. “His goalkeeping performances were nothing less than game-changing and his leadership exemplary. Although we will miss having him as a part of next year’s team, we are excited to see him further his soccer career at the collegiate level. Hamilton College made a wise decision bringing this young man into their program. I am confident that Charlie will make the most of the opportunity in front of him, rising up to each and every challenge that the collegiate game presents.” Coach Leathers also leaves Charlie with encouragement from Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Shane McCormick – Football –
Kennesaw State University
Heather, Shane, and Matt McCormick
Shane McCormick is signing to play football with Kennesaw State University and plans to study law. Shane has attended Prince Avenue for five years and has played football for 12 years.
Shane would like to thank the entire PACS coaching staff for giving him the chance to play. He would like to particularly thank coach Richard Bell for his strength and guidance – also Coach Skaggs for believing in him and helping him to be the best player he could be. He would also like to thank Coach Lonas for putting up with him and helping him get to where he is today. He also wants to thank all his teammates. Finally, Shane would like to thank his parents for their never-ending support. He would not be where he is today without them.
Shane’s advice for younger players is, “People can measure your height and weight, but they can never measure your heart.”
Coach Vandagriff says it has been a pleasure to coach Shane for the last four years. “Shane was a complete team player as his natural position is Inside Linebacker but the team needed him at Defensive Tackle. He accepted his role and moved to help us continue our success. Shane is a true leader by example. We want to wish him the best at KSU!”
McKay Melnick – Football –
University of South Carolina
Bobby, McKay, and Kim Melnick
McKay Melnick is signing as a preferred walk-on to play football with the University of South Carolina. McKay has attended Prince Avenue for two years. He has played tackle football since the age of five.
McKay would like to thank his coaches over the years for teaching him the game of football and fine-tuning the tools given to him by God. He would like to give a special thanks to Coach Martin, Coach Vandagriff, and Coach Ridings for believing in him. He would like to thank his mom and all his family members for their support. He would like to especially thank his grandparents (Mam & Pop), his step mom, his sisters and his dad for their unconditional love and support and for the many sacrifices made to allow him to be where he is today. McKay would also like to thank his friends for making the tough times a little easier and for always being there when he most needed it. Finally, he would like to thank God for giving him this opportunity of a lifetime that he is beyond grateful for.
McKay’s advice to younger players is to always arrive early and leave late and to stay humble in everything they do.
Coach Vandagriff explains that McKay coming to Prince was a win for both parties. “McKay is a true servant leader and always sacrificed his own desires for what was best for the team. McKay played Safety, Linebacker, Tailback and Slot Receiver for us. He is a pleasure to be around and proved himself to be one of the senior leaders we could not win without. We want to wish him the best of luck at South Carolina and know he will represent PACS well!”
Tyler Payne – Football – Berry College
Trey, Tyler, and Jennifer Payne
Tyler Payne is signing to play football with Berry College in Mt. Berry, Georgia. Tyler has attended Prince Avenue for two years and has played football since the age of five.
Tyler would like to God for all of the blessings given to him as well as his parents for the love and support through everything. Tyler’s advice for younger athletes is, “Always work hard, and you will prevail.”
Coach Vandagriff says it has been a pleasure to coach Tyler. “His family decided to make a move a few years back and it has been a true blessing for both parties. We are excited for our All-State LB representative to get an opportunity to further his academic and athletic career at the next level! Good Luck T-Payne and represent the Wolverines well!”
Caleb Smith – Baseball –
Truett McConnell University
Mark, Caleb, and Carol Smith
Caleb Smith is signing to play baseball at Truett McConnell University in Cleveland, Georgia. Caleb has attended Prince Avenue for two years and has played baseball for 12 years.
Caleb would first like to thank God for giving him the ability and health to play baseball. Next, he would like to thank his dad and mom for always encouraging him and for being his two biggest fans. He gives a huge thanks to his dad for coaching him and his brother during their little league years and for always pushing him to give God his best in all he does. He also wants to thank his family for coming to all his games and for cheering him on. Last, but certainly not least, Caleb wants to thank all of his high school coaches: Coach Roberts, Coach Akin, Coach Ross, Coach “T”, Coach Vashaw, and Coach Nixon. Each of these coaches devoted many hours teaching and training him to be the best ball player he could be.
Caleb’s advice for younger players is to challenge themselves to practice hard and never give up on their dreams of playing the sport they love.
Coach Vashaw expresses excitement for Caleb for this opportunity. “Caleb did a great job for us this year in the outfield and has the opportunity to really improve his skill set at Truett McConnell. He is a hard-working player, and we really wish the best for him in the future.”
Alex Sudderth – Football – Presbyterian College
Jennifer, Alex, and Kevin Sudderth
Alex Sudderth is signing to play football with Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina and plans to pursue a degree in engineering. Alex has attended Prince Avenue for one year and has played football for seven years.
Alex would like to thank Coach Vandagriff and the entire PACS coaching staff for giving him a chance and believing in him. He would also like to thank God and his family for all of their love and support.
Alex offers this advice to younger athletes: “Never give up on your dreams. There may be someone who is bigger, stronger, and better, but if you give 100% in everything you do, it will pay off one day.”
Coach Vandagriff is thankful that Alex transferred to Prince his senior year. “Alex transferred to us for his senior year and did an outstanding job of anchoring and leading our Offensive Line. I am super excited for his family and him as he continues his playing career at Presbyterian next year. Congratulations and best of luck at the next level!