Two colleges will be getting more than just fast runners this fall as Cass sprinters Laizon West (Piedmont) and Sabrina Buggs (Columbia College) signed in a ceremony at the Cass media center Thursday.
“Both of these kids, and I can say the same thing for both of them, they are excellent leaders, they have always been great leaders for us at Cass High School and we're going to miss them,” Cass coach Danny Fairbanks said. “Some great colleges are getting good kids. They're going to go off, they're going to work hard, and they're going to turn out to be leaders at their schools.”
Aside from the leadership, there are plenty more similarities between West and Buggs. Both will run the 100 and 200 and compete in the long jump at their respective schools, and the recruiting process for both really got going this winter, right before track season.
That process wrapped up on Thursday, as both made their college choices official.
“I'm feeling pretty excited. I'm thankful and blessed,” West said.
He’ll attend Piedmont and study physical therapy and athletic training. West, also a football star for the Colonels, chose Piedmont over Shorter and Truett-McConnell.
“I just liked that it wasn't a really huge campus, it was kind of small,” West said. “The coaches really invited me in and made me feel like family. I met some of the athletes there and they really made me feel like I belonged.”
The sprinter has been a mainstay for the Colonels since he entered high school, including making a state championship appearance his junior year as a member of a stacked 4x100 relay team along with Terry Berdin, Ray Varnum and Dexter Wilkey.
He has his sights set higher for college.
“As far as athletics, I want to, at least one of my years in college, win a national championship hopefully,” West said. “And then outside of athletics, get a degree and a doctorate degree, so that's my goal going in.”
The Piedmont Lions finished second this year at the Atlantic Independent Championships in late April.
Buggs, meanwhile, picked Columbia College over Keiser in Florida.
“I'm excited, happy, ready for college,” Buggs said. “I'm just ready to go to college and do my best.”
As a senior, she was the top sprinter for the Lady Colonels, and she might be in that position again as soon as next spring for the Koalas.
“The coach looked like he was very dedicated and he kept me up to date with stuff,” Buggs said. “He said I'm one of the top five sprinters that he has.”
Buggs, who will study accounting, chose Columbia for many of the same reasons West chose Piedmont.
“I feel like it's going to be a smaller school and there will be less people so I feel like I'll be able to learn more,” Buggs said. “[I just want to have] a good time, being able to get my degree in accounting, and just being able to perform good in track.”
Both Buggs and West were crucial to the Colonels’ success this season, and Fairbanks had no doubt that that will continue in college.
“They're the ones who went out there and led all of the other kids to work hard and push hard and finish their drills and do what was right for the program,” Fairbanks said. “That's why we're so excited about these two young folks that are going off to college. It’s just fun to see that Cass High School produces the right type of kids and it's because of them themselves. They have the correct morals, the correct determination, the right leadership and it's great to see.”