FLINT TWP. — As the varsity athletic programs at Carman-Ainsworth continue to grow, so does the annual list of athletes the school has signing national letters-of-intent to compete in collegiate athletics.
For 2013, that number swelled to seven and includes baseball standout Justin Hubbard, soccer competitor Shelby Marsh and football players Antwon Curtis, Duane Haskins Jr., Alton Yarbrough, Cleandre’ Robinson and Gerald Holmes.
While his senior season of baseball is still ahead of him, Hubbard joins Adrian College after playing third base and batting .386 in 2012 with 11 RBI, 22 runs, 17 walks and eight doubles. This comes after hitting .372 on 16 hits, 16 RBI, 11 runs and 11 walks in 27 games over the course of 54 at-bats in 2011 as a sophomore.
“(I was also considering) Saginaw Valley State University, Central Michigan, Grand Valley State University and Albion. I went down to Adrian on a visit and I liked the coaches and everything. I liked the school,” said Hubbard. “It’s a great experience. Work hard and do what your mind and heart tells you to do.”
On the football front, Robinson, who also considered attending Iowa Central University, is joining the program at Lackawanna College in Pennsylvania.
“Personally, this means I get to move on to the next level, and I get to prove myself. I just thank the coaches that gave me that chance,” said Robinson. “It’s stressful, but it’s also fun because you get to know how other people look at you besides your social group and your teammates.”
Yarbrough, on the other hand, is heading to Big Rapids to become a part of a Ferris State team that went 7-4 overall, 6-4 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, in 2012. Some of the other schools he considered include Northern Michigan, Northwood, Indiana University and several community colleges in Georgia.
“This means a lot. It means everything to me. This is a new life and new beginning. I’ve got a chance to go to college and get an education and hopefully later on in life, I’ll become a professional in more than one field,” Yarbarough said. “This inspired me. It inspired me to do good and do right by me and be the man that I know I can be.”
As a senior Yarbarough charted 35 tackles, broke up four passes and forced two fumbles for Carman-Ainsworth.
Haskins, on the other hand, will be taking the field for Siena Heights University in Adrian this fall. Last season the Halos went 4-6 overall, 2-3 Mid-States Football Conference after scoring 206 points and allowing 268.
“This is a great experience, being able to pursue football at the next level. It took a lot of hard work to get here,” Haskins said. “It’s a great feeling. As a kid, you dream of being here. Now I’m here and it’s crazy. I don’t even know how to explain it.”
Having also considered several other schools including Olivet Nazarene in Illinois, Haskins had 9.5 tackles for the Cavs this year, including 3.5 for a loss.
As for Curtis, he’s joining a Michigan Technological University program located in Houghton that already claims several former Cavaliers among its ranks, including offensive lineman Aaron Brandt and defensive lineman Shahid Muhammad. Last season, Curtis, who also considered attending Siena Heights University and Northwood, had 20 tackles and broke up four passes for Carman-Ainsworth.
“This means a lot because I’m able to continue my career and most high school kids don’t get this opportunity. I’m just glad to be one of them,” Curtis said. “Just give thanks to the people that supported you throughout the way, the hard times, and don’t forget where you came from.”
The jewel of this seven-pointed crown for Carman-Ainsworth was Gerald Holmes, who’ll be attending Michigan State University in the fall after charting 1,023 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on 94 carries this past season.
“Some of the other schools that had interest in me include Oregon, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Kansas, Purdue, Syracuse and a lot more down the line. Today means completion of something new and the start of something new,” Holmes said. “To finally sign my name as a Spartan officially, that means a lot to me, my family and the school. I just feel like (MSU’s) running style, they run like we run here. That meant a lot, to go to a school that runs things the way we do. Just cherish the moment. One day you have to make a decision and you want it to be the best decision, and I believe this here is the best decision for me.”
Marsh, who also has yet to take the field for her senior season, will be playing soccer at Cleary University in Howell after also considering schools such as Northwood, Stetson University and Central Michigan University.
“When I went on campus it was like family. It felt right. To be able to sign, not only with the boys, but in front of all the school, is something I’ve been waiting for for a long time,” Marsh said. “This means the world to me. Today is life changing. The beginning to an end.”