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Pennington signs track scholarship with USA

History was made at Hartselle High School on Friday when Ashton Pennington signed a grant-in-aid with the University of South Alabama. A state champion javelin thrower, she is the first track and field athlete from the school to sign an athletic scholarship with a four-year university.

The event took place in the school cafeteria with her teammates, coaches and senior athletes from all other school sports in attendance. A reception followed her signing.

“This is a great day for our track and field program,” said Kenneth Lopez, head track and field coach. “We’re proud of Ashton and wish her well in her future career. She is a good example of what can be accomplished through dedication and hard work. We’re pleased she is going to be with us for the remainder of this season and we’re expecting great things from her.”

Pennington is a five-year track and field veteran and defending Class 4A-6A state champion in the javelin throw.

“I’m excited and thrilled that I’ll be able to compete in javelin on the college level,” Pennington said. “I visited the University of South Alabama three weeks ago and was really impressed after touring the campus and talking with the coaches and track and field athletes. I loved the family atmosphere and the beautiful campus.

”But I still have some unfinished business here,” she added. “My goal is to have a terrific senior season and successfully defend my state title.”

She said her plans are to enroll at USA in the fall and pursue a career in exercise science.

World class javelin thrower Jim Fuqua had glowing praise for his star student.

“She’s the hardest working athlete I’ve had the privilege of coaching,” Fuqua said. “The word ‘quit’ is not in her vocabulary. She does a lot of work with weights and it’s uncanny what she is able to do for a girl who is 5’ 2” tall and weights about 140 pounds. There’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll be very successful at a college athlete.”