After Nakiyah Bumgardner–Ferguson enjoyed a breakout junior season with the Spotsylvania girls basketball team, she envisioned an even better senior campaign.

But the point guard’s mood was dampened when she suffered a torn ACL and a torn meniscus in each knee. She played in just one game all season.

Bumgardner–Ferguson apparently showed college coaches enough in the 2018–19 season, when she averaged 19 points per game and was named first-team all-Region 3B.

She received a scholarship offer from Division II University of Charleston (W.Va.) and she recently signed a national letter of intent with the Golden Eagles.

Bumgardner–Ferguson said Charleston’s style of play was enticing.

“They play at a good tempo and they’re in a competitive conference,” she said. “They’ve got good coaches.”

The Golden Eagles finished 23–7 last season, including 16–5 in the Mountain East Conference. They reached the NCAA tournament in 2018–19 for the first time since 2014 and have won 48 games in coach Becky Burke’s two seasons.

Bumgardner–Ferguson plans to hit the ground running. She’s scheduled to arrive on campus in August. She said she’s about 95 percent recovered from her injuries and runs a mile per day.

“It’s exciting,” she said of beginning her college career. “I can’t wait.”

McCONNELL BLOWS UP

Colonial Forge freshman offensive tackle Nolan McConnell is making a splash on the recruiting scene. McConnell (6-foot-6, 260 pounds) is rapidly up to six scholarship offers.

Despite not starting for the Eagles last season, McConnell has received offers from Boston College, Liberty, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Virginia.

Colonial Forge head coach John Brown said McConnell played sparingly on passing downs for the Eagles as a freshman but is expected to contribute more next season.

BARNWELL, HALL AT TOP

McConnell isn’t the only area rising sophomore gaining attention.

James Monroe outside linebacker Jordan Hall was recently rated the No. 1 linebacker in the nation for the Class of 2023 by college football recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. He’s the co-host of the Lemming Report on CBS Sports Network and operates the Prep Football Report magazine.

Hall was a second-team all-Battlefield District and All-Area performer last season after he recorded 19 tackles for loss and helped the Yellow Jackets reach the Region 3B final. He holds a scholarship offer from Virginia Tech.

Lemming also has high regard for Spotsylvania tight end Mathias Barnwell. He rated Barnwell the No. 1 tight end in Virginia and the No. 2 player at the position in the nation for the Class of 2023.

CLAIBORNE PICKS MESSIAH

Massaponax senior basketball standout Arkese Claiborne has committed to Division III Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Claiborne was named first-team all-Commonwealth District last season. He received second-team all-Region 6B and All-Area recognition.

He averaged 13 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 2 blocks per game. He shot 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point territory. He helped Massaponax reach the state tournament for the first time in school history.

PANTHERS GOING JUCO

Two Massaponax softball standouts have decided where they’ll play at the next level.

Emily Sowa is moving on to Richard Bland, a junior college program in Petersburg. Sowa was a four-year starter and first-team all-district outfielder in 2019.

Lauren Stanley will play for Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers, Fla. The Buccaneers are considered one of the top JUCO programs in the nation as they’ve gone 249–33 over the past five seasons.

Stanley transferred to Massaponax for her senior season from St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock, where she was an all-League of Independent Schools selection. The infielder started her career at Fredericksburg Christian School.

CAVS ON THE MOVE

Two Caroline football standouts and a track runner have decided on their next steps.

Cornerback Tyrell Patterson is moving on to Division II Chowan University in Murfreesboro, N.C. Teammate Jordan Beasley, a starting offensive guard, is headed to Morehouse College, a Division II program in Atlanta.

Track and field standout Alyssa Blevins will compete for Division II Tiffin (Ohio) University. Blevins also ran cross country for the Cavaliers.

Taft Coghill Jr: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

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