Four Nashville seniors sign with colleges to play in band, athletics

    Four Nashville seniors signed with colleges May 10 in the NHS cafeteria. They include Grace Talley, Ouachita Baptist University; Brittany Hilliard, LeTourneau College; Preston Pope, Benedictine College; and Justin Bean, Hendrix College.

    Four Nashville High School seniors signed college letters Wednesday, May 10, in the NHS cafeteria in a ceremony attended by family and teammates.

    The signees include the following:

    Grace Talley, band, Ouachita Baptist University

    Brittany Hilliard, softball, LeTourneau University

    Preston Pope, baseball, Benedictine College

    Justin Bean, football, Hendrix College

    “It’s a great day to be a Scrapper,” Athletic Director James “Bunch” Nichols said as the program began. “These four are going for athletics, band, higher degrees. Once a Scrapper, always a Scrapper.”

    Nichols introduced each senior and the coaches or director.

    Scrapperette softball Coach Jerry Baker said he will soon be heading back to Longview, Texas, the home of LeTourneau. “We’ll watch Brittany in her college career. She can always come to our house and grab a meal from Ms. Lucky [his wife Tina]. We’re proud of Brittany and love her very much.”

    Band director Sarah Jo Morris, herself an OBU graduate, said she is “very proud of Grace and her decision. We’re very excited. She’s a great leader.”

    OBU admissions counselor Rebekah Taylor said the first word she thinks of to describe Talley is “compassionate. She has kindness in her heart. I’m glad she will be calling Ouachita home.”

    Nichols said Pope “has been playing baseball as long as I can remember, back when the baseball was almost as big as he was.”

    Coach Kyle Slayton said Pope is “one of my favorites of all time. This is a special group of seniors. They’ve played lots of baseball and been to lots of practices.”

    Pope was MVP last season. He will be attending college “a long way from home. It will be tough early, but he’ll have friends right off the bat – 30 to 40 players” at Benedictine.

    Coach Mike Volarvich said he is “proud of Justin and everything he’s accomplished. Everybody knows the academic side of Hendrix. They don’t know that Hendrix was number one defensively in the nation last year, any level.

    “Justin has worked extremely hard and always did the right thing. We open the weight room at 7:30 a.m. in the summer. I came about 5:30 a.m. to workout one day, and he was sitting on the ground by the [Scrapper Dome] door. He’d been working on the track. He’s working while some are sleeping.”

    Talley will major in graphic design at OBU and will be a member of the band and flag line. She received a scholarship offer last fall.

    Hilliard plays to major in education and become a softball coach. She worked on pitching with a LeTourneau coach for three years and visited the school during the fall.

    Pope toured Benedictine during the fall “and fell in love with the campus.” He plans to major in sports medicine or physical therapy.

    Beene will major in health sciences at Hendrix. He visited the Conway school and said it offers “good athletics and academics.” He will play on the offensive line.