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May 22, 2014

Three Huntsville seniors celebrate commitments to college athletics

HUNTSVILLE — A group of seniors closed the door on their respective athletic careers at Huntsville High School and looked toward the future during a ceremony Wednesday in the Hornet Gym concourse.

Audie Wyatt, Class 4A state champion in the pole vault this season, is headed to Texas A&M to compete for the Aggies’ track and field team. Region III qualifier Chandler Livingston will play tennis at Hardin-Simmons next season and Lady Hornets star pitcher Sabrina Johnson is joining Prairie View A&M’s softball squad.

Each athlete enjoyed success at Huntsville, but they’re excited about moving on.

“I’m just really looking forward to it,” Wyatt said of his future in College Station. “I’m so excited. It’s like I can’t believe I’m going, like I’m not ready but I am ready.

“The team is nationally-ranked and they’re the best of the best. I know if I go there, they’ll push me further and harder and hopefully I eventually go pro.”

Wyatt is just one of a handful of Huntsville’s individual state champions, but he’s also touted for being a team player, just like Livingston and Johnson.

Before the Hornets’ No. 1 tennis player of the past two seasons leaves for college, he’s making a point to work with the younger players at Huntsville and even showed up to Austin to catch the Lady Hornets golf team win a state title last month.

Livingston is going to study business and finance, with the hope of getting an advanced degree in business administration and the long term goal of becoming a CEO. He said Hardin-Simmons appeared to be the right fit from his first visit last July.

“First, the school had what I wanted academically,” Livingston said. “Their business school is great. They also have a great tennis team and I really like their coach. They’re in the process of building a really nice indoor-outdoor tennis facility and it just had all of the right pieces that I needed.”

Livingston described his Huntsville experience as “awesome.” Hornets head coach John Fuller has been a friend and mentor, while Mary Ridings worked as his personal instructor.

“I’ve enjoyed being the captain and leader of our team for two years,” Livingston said. “It’s just meant so much to me for the team to support me so much. It’s special because so many people would like to do this and I actually get the opportunity. It’s exciting.”

Johnson said she likes what she’s heard about Prairie View. She has friends there who keep talking up the school and Johnson is anxious to find out for herself.

The former Huntsville softball pitcher said Prairie View felt like a second home when she went for a visit earlier in the spring.

“It’s not that far away and it has a good atmosphere about it,” Johnson said. “I’m just ready. It’s going to be a growing up experience being on my own but I’m ready. There’s kind of a sense of independence but I’m also going there for a degree. I’m really blessed that I get to continue playing the sport I love.”

This was the third commemorative ceremony this season for Huntsville athletes planning to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.

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