With 2021-22 school year now over, area high school sports fans have the summer off before the Richmond Raider sports teams are in action again.
For those that do not follow middle school sports, the Richmond Observer will take a look at some future Raiders that you may or may not know about. Today’s featured female and male middle school athletes are Mackenzie Quick of Hamlet Middle School and Jake Richardson of Ellerbe Middle School.
Hamlet Middle School’s Mackenzie Quick is one of only two middle school athletes to be selected for the Tomorrow’s Talent series for their work as a sixth grader. Like Cordova Middle’s Lizzie Lunceford (featured earlier in the series), Quick is a multi-sport athlete who is best known for her performance on the diamond.
For her hard work, determination, and service as the Lady Red Rams’ pitcher throughout the season, Quick received the Hamlet Middle School Coach’s Award for softball from coaches Lauren Brewer and Alyssa Knouff. Quick was quick to compliment the leadership of her coaches and older teammates.
“Coach Brewer and Coach Knouff were awesome and really brought us together as a team,” Quick shared of Hamlet’s coaching duo. “The eighth graders were the best at teaching and leading the younger athletes.”
Since Quick is only a sixth grader, both Brewer and Knouff are eager to see what she can accomplish in her next two years as a Red Ram.
“Mackenzie is a selfless, dedicated and all-around player,” shared Brewer. “She brought so much to both our offense and defense this year. I love her focus in the circle and drive to work from behind when down. I can’t wait to see her grow in the next two years as a Red Ram.”
“Mackenzie showed it all this season – grit, desire and tenacity,” Knouff lauded. “As only a sixth grader, she stepped up big and will only continue to become stronger. I’m so excited to watch Mackenzie thrive in her remaining years at the middle school level.”
In addition to receiving the coach’s award, Quick cites Hamlet’s softball victory over rival Rockingham as her favorite sports moment of her sixth grade year. However, her contributions to Hamlet Middle athletics were not limited to the diamond.
“This year was my first year playing volleyball and I was able to make the team,” shared Quick. “Coach Alex Gardner was amazing and taught me so much.”
Quick served the Lady Red Rams during the volleyball regular season and came back to represent the students in the annual student vs. faculty volleyball game. She is on the school’s A/B honor roll and is a member of Southside Freewill Baptist Church.
Currently, she is travelling with the C35 12u travel softball team out of Moore County and has competed in several tournaments including recent trips to Charlotte and Florence, S.C. Although it’s still a couple of years away, she plans to try out for volleyball and softball at Richmond Senior High.
Jake Richardson enjoyed staying busy during his eighth grade year at Ellerbe Middle School. In addition to representing the Wildcats in baseball, basketball and cross country, he was on the school’s A/B honor roll, is an avid hunter and a member of the North Carolina Beekeepers Association.
For his commitment to athletics, his courteous personality and his camaraderie with his fellow Wildcats, Richardson was named the Ellerbe Middle School male student athlete of the year for 2021-22. In addition to receiving the school’s highest athletic honor, he was also awarded MVP for baseball and most improved player in basketball.
Richardson acknowledged several coaches who have worked with him during his time at Ellerbe Middle and lauded all of them for instilling persistence in each and every Wildcat.
“Thank y’all for all of the hard work that y’all have done to help us succeed in our sports,” Richardson said of the Ellerbe Middle coaches. “Y’all taught us that we might not succeed in everything we do but not to give up on our dreams. Don’t stop trying no matter how hard it may be. It’s the effort that matters.”
Richardson has already been promoted to the green and gold as he has been playing with the JV Renegades summer baseball team. At Richmond Senior High School, he wants to try out for baseball, basketball, cross country and is also interested in track and bowling.
“Jake is an amazing kid to coach,” shared Ellerbe Middle coach and teacher Grover McDonald. “It’s always yes sir and no sir. Not only is he a great kid but also a great teammate. He doesn’t give excuses and always brings 110%.”
The rising freshman has several passions and even has decided on a career path. “I love hunting and fishing,” Richardson said. “Two of my favorite things to do are arrowhead hunting and bee keeping. I want to be an archeologist when I grow up.”
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