Eagles add 21 to inaugural swimming signing class

Eagles add 21 to inaugural swimming signing class

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman swim coach Paige McCord has added 21 swimmers (13 men and eight women) to the program's inaugural signing class.  The 21 signees join nine swimmers who signed in December. 

 "We continue to make history and build on the foundation set by the nine fall signees," McCord said.  "I'm proud to welcome all 21 of these swimmers into the fold for C-N swimming."

Men's swimming signees:

Stephen Parsons: A juco transfer from Daytona State College and native of Auburn, Ala., Parsons was a two-time NJCAA runner-up and captain for DSC.  Was his high school's team captain as well. 

Parsons made the dean's list at Daytona State and a member of the National Honor Society in high school, as well as the Spanish Honor Society. 

The son of Michael and Angela Parsons plans to major in communications. 

McCord on Parsons: "Joins our team as a junior, he will be making an impact immediately in backstroke and freestyle, as well providing quality mentorship to our freshmen."

Parker Miles: A 6-0, 186-pound graduate from Bearden High School in Knoxville, Tenn., Miles helped take home city meeting championships in each of the last five years.  He is the son of Lamuny Miles and Eddie Miles.

McCord on Miles: "Parker is a devoted and eager young man ready to test his personal limits of endurance in NCAA DII competition."

Landis Cranford: Comes to Carson-Newman from High Point Christian Academy in Greensboro, N.C. where he was an all-conference swimmer all four years of his high school career and his team's MVP twice.   

The son of Woody and Lori Cranford, his father played football at Tennessee Tech.  The 6-5, 180-pound swimmer plans to major in biology at C-N.

McCord on Cranford: "Landis is a talented swimmer with a natural feel for the water; I have high expectations for what this athlete will achieve."

Tommy Bourgeois II: A Dobyns-Bennett product from Kingsport, Tenn., Bourgeois was the MVP of his team three years running and a three-time all-region selection.  He helped DBHS to a district championship his sophomore year while also playing football and baseball. 

A member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club, he's undecided on a major. The son of Tommy and Melanie Bourgeois.   

McCord on Bourgeois: "An athlete with an unyielding drive, Bourgeois is a gifted butterfly specialist and will provide needed depth in our freestyle events. Look for him to develop significantly over the next four years."

Ethan Webster: A star swimmer from Suwanee, Ga. and North Gwinnet High School, Webster took home second team all-state honors in his senior year.  He is a three-time Gwinnett County all-star and a honorable mention all-state selection his junior year. 

Webster holds the North Gwinnett High School records in the 100 backstroke (52:57), the 400 freestyle relay (3:11:65) and 200 medley relay (1:36:06).

Also a decorated mentor, acted as a NGHS Peer Leader and Freshman Mentor from 2011-2013.  Was also a member of the Beta Club and a scholar athlete. 

The son of Jeff and LeeAnna Webster, is undecided on a major, but plans to study business. 

McCord on Webster: "Coming from a top-tier program in Georgia, Ethan is a focused athlete that excels in middle-distance freestyle as well as backstroke."

Joshua Grover:
The team MVP and captain for Carrollton High School from Villa Rica, Ga., Grover is highly decorated student out of the pool.  Earned the UGA Certificate of Merit, All-A Honor Roll honors and the Healthcare Award.  He's also a junior honor marshal and a STEM award winner, not to mention a regional technology fair winner.

The son of John and Donna Grover plans to study biology at Carson-Newman. 

McCord on Grover: "He is a diverse athlete that can do any of the four strokes exceptionally well."

Tyler Johnson: A three-year letter winner from Knoxville, Tenn.'s Farragut High School, Johnson was his team's captain. A two-sport athlete, he also ran track. 

Johnson was a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, the National Honor Society and was selected to the distinguished honor roll eight times in his high school career.

The son of Amanda and Timothy Johnson plans to major in business with an emphasis in management.

McCord on Johnson: "He's is a talented multi-sport athlete in high school. I am eager to see many of his times drop significantly over the next few years."

Connor Graham:
A freestyler and backstroker from Irmo, S.C. and Dutch Fork High School, Graham was a three sport athlete who also played basketball and ran track.  In the pool, Graham garnered all-region and all-state honors in addition to going to Y nationals. 

Graham was a STEM award winner in high school.

The son of Patricia and David Graham, he plans to major in business at Carson-Newman.   

McCord on Graham: "Connor's a dependable & gifted backstroker with a strong will to win."

Austin Murphy:  A three-time team MVP for nearby Morristown West, Murphy will graduate with distinction from high school in May. 

He also ran cross country.  The son of Steve and Renee Murphy is undecided on a major. 

McCord on Murphy: "We're pleased to be able to bring in a local talent the likes of Austin Murphy. He will add to the team's success by his middle and distance capabilities in both backstroke and freestyle."

Anthony "Brandon" Calfee: A swimmer for Ben Young at Morristown West, collected MVP and the high points honors from his squad. Calfee was a regional finalist and a Southeastern Meet qualifier. 

The son of Tony and Chris Calfee plans to study pharmacy and chemistry at C-N.

McCord on Calfee: "His ability in multiple events will be pivotal to the men's team. He is hard worker and motivated young man."

Drew Rutledge: A 5-11, 155-pound swimmer out of Lexington, S.C. and Lexington High School, Rutledge was his swim team's captain and MVP.  He's earned all-region, all-area and all-state honors in his high school career. 

Rutledge also took home regional championship individually in helping Lexington to its ninth consecutive Region V championship.  Also helped Lexington to a 2010 4A South Carolina state Championship. 

The son of Andy and Kelly Rutledge plans on majoring in accounting at Carson-Newman.   

McCord on Rutledge: "As a sprinter in both free and fly, Drew brings excitement to our team.  We are looking forward to showcasing his emerging talent."

DJ Smith: A three-year swimmer at Science Hill from Johnson City, Tenn., Smith was a team captain in 2012 and a two-time state meet qualifier.  He was lauded twice as an all-conference selection and made the all-state honorable mention team in 2013. 

The son of Kristin Merrifield and Dennis L. Smith plans to major in physical therapy at Carson-Newman.

McCord on Smith: "He is tall athlete who has a great freestyle form, abundant positive attitude and mounting abilities."


Women's swimming signees:


Katie Zientarski: A distance swimmer from Boca Raton, Fla. And Boca Raton Community High School, Zientarski was her high school's team captain and a Sun Sentinel all-county second team member in 2011.  She was a district finalist, regional finalist and state qualifier in the same year.

Zientarski was a part of county, district and regional championship teams in 2012. 

A decorated scholar, in her four years of high school, she was a member of the National Honor Society, an AP scholar and the recipient of the Presidential Academic Honors Award.

The daughter of Scott and Tina Zientarski, she plans to major in education at Carson-Newman.   

McCord on Zientarski: "Katie is a hard worker, which will pay off well as she competes in some of the tougher events -- the 200 fly and the mile."  

Amanda Henderson: Henderson comes to C-N from Bartlett, Tenn. and Bolton High School.  She was a state championship finalist, county championship qualifier and Best of Preps qualifier for coach Rachel West in high school. 

A member of the National Honor Society, she is the daughter of Ronnie and Anita Henderson and plans to major in nursing at C-N.   

McCord on Henderson: "She is an accomplished athlete that will score significant points for us next year."  

Madeline Stelling: A Memphis, Tenn.-product from Faith Heritage Christian Academy, Stelling was a Best of Preps selection in 2012.  She finished eighth in the 100 breast stroke at the state championships in 2012 and was the breaststroker in the 200 medley that came in fourth at the 2013 state meet. 

Stelling is a member of the MHEA Honor Society and the daughter of Mark and Kellye Stelling.  She plans to study nursing at Carson-Newman.   

McCord on Stelling: "Madeline is a passionate swimmer whose talent in every stroke will benefit the team as she competes for Carson-Newman in the Individual Medley.

Aly Kaywork: Kaywork is the first swimmer from Fernandina Beach High School in Fernandina Beach, Fla., to garner a scholarship to swim in college in school history.  A basketball player in high school as well, Kaywork was her team's captain and a member of the all-coast teams her junior and senior years.

She was the first female from her high school to qualify for states where she made it three times swimming the 50 free.  Kaywork was the district champ in the 50 free – the first in school history - and a runner up in the 100 free.    

Kaywork was a part of the IRSC Scholastic All-American swim team and a recipient of the Skull Award for the highest team GPA at IRSC for the 2011-2012 season. 

Her cousin, Courtney Mayo, swims at UCLA.  She is the daughter of Mary and Lee Kaywork and plans to major in psychology at C-N. 

McCord on Kaywork: "Coming to us as a junior with huge experience, she will contribute greatly in the breaststroke and sprint freestyle."

Hannah Kiser: A freestyler/backstroker from Cedar Park, Texas and Visa Ridge High School, Kiser transfers to C-N from Daytona State College where she was a team captain and a NJCAA finalist.  Kiser helped DSC to a national runner up at the juco level.  While in high school, she was a junior national and state qualifier as well as a regional and sectional finalist. 

Was a member of the president's list and dean's list while at DSC.  Kiser garnered academic all-American status as well while being a member of the college's honors program, STEM program and Phi Theta Kappa. 

She is the daughter of Mary and Rob Kiser and plans to major in exercise science at C-N.

McCord on Kiser: "Hannah is a versatile swimmer with the ability to make colossal waves in and out of the pool this first year."

Tia Turner:  A four-sport athlete at Suncoast Community High School in Hollywood, Fla., Turner has spent her last two years at Indian River State College.  

She is the daughter of Loretta Williams and plans to major in pharmacy at C-N.

McCord on Turner: "Tia is spirited competitor that will be an immediate contributor for the Lady Eagle's sprint team."

Kelly Faulkner: A Lawrenceville, Ga.-native and 2011 graduate of Brookwood High School, Faulkner has spent the last two years at Indian River State College. In high school, she was a state champion in the 200 free relay in addition to being her school's Bronco Award recipient her senior year.

At Indian River, she was a member of two NJCAA national championship teams.  She finished third in the 500 free in the NJCAA championships in 2013 and fourth in the 200 free. 

Her sister Meghan is a swimmer at the University of Georgia.  Faulkner is the daughter of Dan and Peggy Faulkner and plans to major in graphic design at C-N. 

McCord on Faulkner: "Kelly is a female on fire who will burn up the record board."

Savannah Weathers: A Franklin, Tenn.-native and current Carson-Newman sophomore, Weathers was a regional qualifier all four years while she was home schooled.  She was a state qualifier for three years and qualified in every stroke but the breast as a senior.

Weathers carried a 4.0 all four years of her high school career.  She is the daughter of Tim and Donna Weathers and is majoring in nutrition at C-N.   

McCord on Weathers: "She's the only current Carson-Newman female student on our roster. Savannah brings integrity and commitment, as well as strong distance swimming ability."


As a whole, McCord said she believes that the signing class will enable Carson-Newman's swim program to be competitive instantly in its inaugural year.

"I look forward to watching this powerfully dynamic group of swimmers seriously compete at the Bluegrass Mountain Swim Conference next February," McCord said. 

The Eagles hit the water Sept. 26 for an intrasquad Blue v. Orange meet. 

4-25-13 C-N Swimming Signees