The dream of playing college athletics came true for many Chatham County athletes last week.
Northwood basketball senior Drake Powell headlined the group by signing to UNC Thursday and making his college decision official.
Powell signed his national letter of intent in the Northwood gym with his family, old and current coaches, teammates and Northwood students in attendance.
“It feels great,” Powell said. “I got it out the way. I’m ready to go there, do what I do, impact winning.”
Powell has played all of his high school career with the Chargers, averaging 16.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists in his first three seasons. He received an offer from the Tar Heels in August 2022, and one month later, he committed to the program.
“When I went on my first official visit, we ate at SupDogs,” Powell said. “Seeing the atmosphere, they showed me the dorms (and) everything else they had to offer. I think that stuck out the most. I was having a conversation with my dad, ‘This is the place where I want to play basketball at the next level.’”
Powell’s parents, Dedric and Cherice Powell, are both UNC alumni. His father played baseball at the university.
“This is a kid who works so hard,” Powell’s mother said. “This is just the result of that, and I’m really, really excited for him. Just the fact that he’s going to UNC, that just puts the icing on the cake.”
When it comes to Powell playing close to home, it’s a “great” feeling for his family.
“I’m definitely going to be at as many games as I can,” Powell’s brother, Dedric, said. “It just means a lot that he’ll be playing right down the road at the University of North Carolina.”
Here are other Chatham County athletes that signed to college athletic programs last week.
Logan Gunter (Jordan-Matthews, softball)
Jordan-Matthews senior Logan Gunter signed with Furman to play softball.
Gunter is the first Division-I softball signing for the Jets since its current softball head coach, Holly Clark, signed to Charleston Southern in 2015.
“I’m so excited,” Gunter said. “I’ve worked for this since I was tiny. So, for this to actually happen, it’s amazing.”
Ryan Tinervin (Northwood, women’s lacrosse)
Northwood senior midfielder Ryan Tinervin signed with Roanoke College to play lacrosse.
In her first three seasons with the Chargers, Tinervin scored a combined 102 goals along with 28 assists and 64 ground balls. Last spring, she scored the second-most goals on the team with a total of 61.
Ella Boecke (Northwood, women’s lacrosse)
Northwood senior defender Ella Boecke signed with Campbell to play lacrosse.
Boecke tallied 119 ground balls in the first three years of her career. Her 74 ground balls last spring were the second-most on the team and the conference.
Aidan Allred (Chatham Charter, baseball)
Chatham Charter senior short stop Aidan Allred signed to the Brunswick Community College baseball program.
Last season, Allred batted an average of .466 and achieved a fielding percentage of .864. He led the conference with 26 RBIs and led his team with four home runs in 2023.
Mackenzie Crossman (Chatham Charter, women’s golf)
Chatham Charter senior Mackenzie Crossman signed with Barton College to play golf.
Crossman tied with Raleigh Charter’s Allison Song for ninth place in the 2023 NCHSAA 1A/2A women’s golf state championship. In 2022, she finished sixth in the state championship which was her highest finish in the state competition.