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Wednesday, 21 October 2020 13:31

West named scholar athlete, voting open to secure additional funds

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Senior kicker Mack West has been named a scholar athlete and has the opportunity to win additional scholarship money with the help of fans. Senior kicker Mack West has been named a scholar athlete and has the opportunity to win additional scholarship money with the help of fans. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — Raider Nation is being challenged by the Richmond Senior High School football team to help out yet another player in an online voting competition. And this time, there’s scholarship money on the line.

Last week, senior kicker Mack West was named a Great American Rivalry Series scholar athlete. Done in conjunction with the NFL’s Pro Football Hall of Fame, West received a $500 scholarship to “reward those athletes that work hard on and off the field.”

West is one of 143 other high school student-athletes to receive the scholarship, and has the opportunity to earn more scholarship money and be named to the inaugural Great American Rivalry Scholarship “Hall of Fame Team.”

“I knew that Coach (Bryan) Till nominated me, but I didn’t know I had won the scholarship until I was tagged on Instagram and Twitter,” West explained. “I thought it was a cool honor, and then when I realized it was a scholarship, I got excited because every little bit counts.”

Till and Richmond’s athletic director Rob Ransom were contacted by a representative of the Great American Rivalry Series a few weeks ago. Richmond was included in this year’s selection process because the program’s rivalry with Scotland High School was promoted on Twitter earlier this year.

“Mack has an outstanding track record in the classroom,” Till said of the decision to select West as Richmond’s nominee. “He’s not only participated in football, but also soccer, track and tennis while here. He is also one heck of a shag dancer. We thought he would be a perfect candidate.

“Mack is an extremely hard worker in the classroom, in the weight room and on the field,” Till added. “While he has great gifts in all these areas, he has worked hard to be the best he can be. He has challenged himself with upper-level classes in addition to achieving a high GPA.  He manages his time well to be able to be successful in all these areas.”

Now that West has been awarded the $500 scholarship, he has the opportunity to add more to that amount. But he needs the help of Raider fans and Richmond County voters.

Between Oct. 19 and Dec. 14, a voting competition will be open to determine the top 25 of the field of nearly 150 high school student-athletes. The 25 players who receive the most votes will be given more scholarship funds to be used in college.

Over the last few years, Raider Nation’s faithful have answered the call in numerous other voting competitions. This week, senior quarterback Caleb Hood was voted in as a top-five finalist in the WSOC-TV “Big 22 Player of the Year” competition.

“Our community can help vote and it’s shown that it’s willing to help in the past,” West said. “We won the new helmets last year from the Carolina Panthers and Caleb is right up there in the top five of this year’s Big 22 competition. 

“I know we can make the top 25, and I really believe Richmond County could even help us win the No. 1 spot,” he added. “Every vote counts, and it would be a blessing to say that the community helped me win some scholarship money.”

West is one of several Richmond seniors in the class of 2021 looking to get recruited for college football. The coronavirus pandemic has limited the amount of contact he’s had with college coaches, but he’s continuing to attend kicking camps up and down the east coast to raise his stock.

Working with Adam Tanalski, the director of Hammer Kicking Academy, West has received interest from Coastal Carolina, Elon, Western Carolina, Carson-Newman University (Tenn.) and began talking to Catawba College this week.

West attended a one-day camp in Atlanta two weeks ago with Tanalski, who has “gone 100 percent on commitments of his seniors since 2014,” according to HKA’s website.

“We have both this and Caleb's Big 22 to vote going on right now,” Till said.  “It is great to be at such a special place where our community supports our kids.  During this time, it is that much more important that our community continues to show our kids support.  

“They don't get the benefit of a lot of face-to-face encouragement right now, so any form that takes is beneficial to letting our kids know they are still important and that we appreciate all their efforts,” he closed. 


To vote for West in the Great American Rivalry Scholarship contest, click here. He is listed as “Thomas ‘Mack’ West.” Voting ends on Dec. 14.

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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