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Six Dukes to compete in college

Six senior student-athletes made Monday a big day for Cumberland athletics as they formally announced their commitments to continue their athletic careers in college during a ceremony attended by family, friends, coaches and administrators at Cumberland High School.

Bria “Infinity” Anderson will play volleyball for Virginia State University (VSU), Matthew Bapties will compete in cross country and track and field for the University of Mary Washington, Tonishea Ford will compete in track and field for Pfeiffer University, Jaylen Gilliam will play football for The Apprentice School, Ciara Gilman will compete in cross country and track and field at Eastern Mennonite University and Mary Kate Perry will play softball for Emory & Henry College.

Lady Dukes Head Varsity Girls Volleyball Coach Heather Sutton said that Anderson will be great addition to the Virginia State team.

“When you combine her love for the game and her fiercely competitive personality together, you end up with a lethal volleyball player,” Sutton said. “… I know she will give VSU the same fire and the same excitement.”

Anderson, who was a four-year letterman in volleyball at Cumberland, plans to major in sports management and minor in communications at VSU.

Cumberland Head Track and Field Coach Kenneth Jasey expects Bapties to continue thriving as a long distance runner.

“Matthew, he’s going to do a tremendous job — great coaching staff up there at Mary Washington,” Jasey said.

Bapties, a four-year letterman as a long distance runner at Cumberland, said he is thinking of double majoring in sociology and psychology.

“Ciara, she’s going to do a good job walking on with the cross country and the track and field,” Jasey said.

Gilman, a two-year letterman as a long distance runner at Cumberland, plans to major in business management with a probable minor in economics.

Jasey said that at Pfeiffer, Ford is “going to compete well in the discus and shot put.”

A four-year letterman in track and field at Cumberland, Ford plans to major in criminal justice and minor in psychology.

Dukes Head Varsity Football Coach Edgar Knapp praised Gilliam for being a hard worker.

“He has that quiet strength,” Knapp said. “He’s not going to be the loudest guy on the field, but he’s going to be the guy you can always count on, and he’ll take that to the next level. He’ll be successful there, no doubt. His ability plus his attitude will equal success.”

Gilliam is a two-year letterman in football at Cumberland and four-year letterman in the sport for his entire high school career. He plans to major in psychology and minor in business.

Cumberland Head Varsity Softball Coach Kamren Gilliam said Perry will be great for Emory & Henry as a first baseman.

“I think Mary Kate will bring a lot to the next level in regards to leadership,” Gilliam said. “She’s a great athlete, a great person.”

Lettering for three years in softball at Cumberland, Perry plans to major in exercise science.