Cuthbertson, Hartsfield sign to compete at the next level

By Griff Servati
For the Van Alstyne Leader

Van Alstyne athletes signed their letters of intent to compete at the collegiate level. Friends and family surrounded Austin Cuthbertson and Tatum Hartsfield at the Panther Training complex on Friday morning. 

Austin Cuthbertson, surrounded by family members signed to Powerlift for Midland University.

    Austin Cuthbertson, the State Champion in powerlifting, announced that he was attending Midland University in Nebraska. After his performance at the State meet, offers made him change his plans for where he would attend college. 

    Austin missed out on the state meet in his junior year due to the sporting shutdowns. That missed opportunity had more effects than an empty place in his trophy case. It limited his exposure to opportunities like competing at the next level. But he had a chance to make up for it this season, and he took advantage by capturing the state title and the attention of powerlifting programs.  Austin said of the chance to compete in the next level, "I wasn't expecting this offer; I am blessed to have this opportunity."

Austin Cuthbertson, surrounded by family members signed to Powerlift for Midland University.

    Cuthbertson shared what helped him decide on attending Midland, "The school is in a mall town like Van Alstyne, and the team was very welcoming and looking forward to be a part of the family of lifters." One thing that did not change about his plans, he plans to study Youth and Family Ministries at the private Christian university. 

    Before leaving the facility, the family entered the training center to see the new Texas state signage on the wall that reads, "Austin 'Tuna' Cuthbertson, 2021 State Champion."

Tatum Hartsfield, surrounded by family signed on to cheer at UNT.

    Tatum Hartsfield will be joining the University of North Texas Cheerleading program. Hartsfield is the youngest sibling in her family and completes the trifecta of competing at the next level. Brother Tanner played football at Hendrix College, and sister Taylor also cheered at UNT. Tatum recognized that the familiarity of the program helped her make the decision, "I am following the footsteps of my sister, I already knew the coaches. They have been recruiting me since my sophomore year, and I just knew it was the perfect place for me."

    "It is rewarding to know that my hard work finally paid off," said Tatum when asked about her what she is feeling today after signing on the dotted line. When asked what she was looking forward to the most, she said,  "All the friendships and bonds I will make with my new teammates." Hartsfield will be on the Coed cheer squad at UNT, where she plans to major in fashion merchandising. 

Tatum Hartsfield, surrounded by family signed on to cheer at UNT.

    Tatum expressed her thankfulness to her parents, Shanna and John, by saying,  "They helped me reach my goal of becoming a college cheerleader by taking me to college clinics, tumbling classes, and stunt lessons."