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Hoover Cross Country
Hoover High School senior Tommy McDonough signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his cross-country and track and field career at Auburn University during a ceremony on Wednesday, April 12.
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Hoover Cross Country
Hoover High School senior John Paul Rumore signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his cross-country and track and field at the University of South Alabama during a ceremony on Wednesday, April 12.
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Hoover Track and Field
Hoover High School senior Ayana Eason signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her track and field career at Alcorn State University during a ceremony on Wednesday, April 12.
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Hoover High School senior Maya Jones signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her volleyball career at Wallace State Community College during a ceremony on Wednesday, April 12.
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Hoover High School held a signing day for senior student-athletes on Wednesday, April 12.
Four Hoover High School seniors signed National Letters of Intent to participate in college athletics during a ceremony held in the school's cafeteria on Wednesday, April 12.
Three of the four signees will compete in track and field or cross-country, and one will compete in volleyball.
Buccaneer distance standout Tommy McDonough headlined the class.
He won the 2016 Class 7A state cross-country championship and captured first-place finishes in both the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs at the state indoor track and field meet in February. He formalized his commitment to Auburn University.
"It's amazing. It's a dream I've had since I started running, to be able to go to the next level," McDonough said. "I'm just thankful I've been able to get here. It's really awesome."
McDonough has been one of the state's top distance runners since his sophomore year, when he placed third in the 3,200 meters at the state outdoor track and field meet. He kept improving. McDonough currently owns blistering personal bests of 1 minute, 54.39 seconds (800 meters), 4:13.53 (1 mile), 9:23.45 (3,200 meters) and 15:39.7 (5,000 meters).
McDonough grew up a University of Alabama fan, but he said Auburn just felt "right" on his visit.
"I'm thankful for everybody who's helped me along the way -- my coaches, my teammates," McDonough said. "I know I have a lot of good times ahead."
John Paul Rumore, a fellow distance standout, signed with the University of South Alabama.
Rumore has consistently contributed to the Bucs' cross-country and track and field programs since his sophomore year. He currently possesses personal bests of 4:28.88 (1,600 meters), 9:45.81 (3,200 meters) and 16:02.9 (5,000 meters).
"I really wanted something different, and I really love the city of Mobile," Rumore said of USA's coastal location. "They've got a great business program, too."
From the girls track and field team, Ayana Eason signed with Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi.
Eason excels in hurdles and jumps, particularly the triple jump. She finished third in the event at February's state indoor track and field meet and boasts a personal best of 36 feet, one inch.
She said a list of items impacted her college decision.
"I like the facilities. They have my major," said Eason, who plans to study computer science at Alcorn State. "It was a nice track team. They're really respectful and very welcoming."
A fourth member of the Hoover track and field program, Jairyn Russell, was also slated to finalize her college commitment Wednesday. An unexpected phone call altered those plans.
Russell intended to sign with Dillard University in New Orleans, but she received a scholarship offer from the University of Alabama at Huntsville two hours before the ceremony.
"It's kind of shocking," said Russell, who plans to visit UAH next week before cementing her decision.
Hoover head cross-country and track and field coach Devon Hind spoke about all four athletes during the ceremony. He praised the group's collective dedication to maximizing its success in the Buccaneer program.
"They've all worked really hard and earned it," Hind said. "It's just exciting to see the fruits of their labor. They all seem really happy. I love to see it."
Maya Jones was the lone non-cross-country and track and field signee. She will play volleyball at Wallace State Community College. Jones, a middle hitter, helped propel the Hoover volleyball team to a runner-up finish at the 7A state tournament last fall.
She said she is looking forward to joining a Wallace State program that has won the Alabama Community College Conference championship eight years in a row.
"I'm looking forward to getting those rings," she said.