National Signing Day Celebration: Nine St. Charles athletes honored

It was a full house for last week’s National Signing Day celebration at the Professional Learning Center in Luling, as nine St. Charles Parish athletes were honored for earning the chance to compete at the collegiate level.

Hahnville’s Kamryn Ryan became the first gymnast in the history of the St. Charles Parish school district to sign a gymnastics scholarship, the multi-time state champion on her way to the University of Alabama. Hahnville football standouts to make their next level destination official were linebacker Amontae Jernigan (Arkansas-Monticello), quarterback Andrew Robison (Nicholls State), defensive end Jalen Singleton (Harding) and tight end Noah Zeringue (Arkansas-Monticello). Hahnville wide receiver Jha’Quan Jackson (Tulane) was also honored, as were Destrehan quarterback J.R. Blood (Southern), linebacker Alex Huszar (Southeastern), defensive back Dontrell Smith (Southeastern) and wide receiver Quinton Torbor (Mississippi State) — each of those athletes officially signed in December on the first day of the early signing period.

It was the latest example of some history made by Ryan, who later this year will attempt to add to her collection of eight Division I state championship medals in gymnastics, two of those overall crowns and six others in individual events. She will join an Alabama program rich in history and championship wins.

“Everyone at these tables today have been through a lot … I’ve sacrificed so much in my life to be able to do this sport and do it well, and it really is rewarding to feel like that hard work has really paid off,” Ryan said. “Alabama has won numerous national titles but my main focus wasn’t on who won the most, but on what type of person I wanted to come out of college being. I went there and it felt like home.”

Jernigan and Singleton were two of the anchors up front for a dominating defensive line in each of the last two seasons for the Tigers, including a 2017 campaign in which they helped lift Hahnville to its first state championship game appearance since 2003. Zeringue, meanwhile, helped key the state’s most productive rushing attack in that playoff run with his punishing blocking at tight end.

“It’s special. I can’t say enough about the way I feel right now, signing these papers,” said Jernigan. “To get to the next level, not many people can say they’ve had the opportunity, and I feel blessed … they told me they liked how I make plays sideline to sideline, and I have a chance to play early.”

Singleton said signing alongside his teammates was truly rewarding, and said Harding appealed to him in part because of the way his soon-to-be teammates and coaches embraced him on his official visit.

“I grew up with all these guys, and I like to see everyone succeed,” Singleton said. “We competed for all four years, all of us fought through the process and kept fighting. Nobody ever gave up.”

Zeringue called the chance to get started at Arkansas-Monticello was exciting, and said having Jernigan along with him only makes things better.

“We’ve been doing it for four years and we always push each other to get better,” Zeringue said. “I feel really blessed to be able to continue my football career in college, and my family, my coaches and the people supporting me in St. Charles Parish helped make that happen.”

For Robison, the day marked a happy ending for what had been a tumultuous year surrounding his eligibility battle with the LHSAA following his transfer to Hahnville from Vandebilt Catholic. Upon reinstatement, he went 2-1 as the team’s starter and helped lead HHS to a round one postseason victory at Walker.

Nicholls State, he says, made him feel like a priority from day one and he called his signing a dream come true.

“I’ve wanted this ever since I was a little kid … I remember just hoping to be able to make it to a Division I college,” Robison said. “I’m so thankful to so many people … if I were a coach and I wanted a player, I would have done everything Nicholls did. You don’t find that everywhere. I think their program is on the rise and is a great fit for me. I think I’m a great fit for them, too, so it’s really the best of both worlds.”

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