For the first time in school history, Cumberland Academy held a signing ceremony on Tuesday morning.
Three Cumberland athletes — basketball player Gregory “Jackson” Kennedy and lacrosse players Brandon Miller and Cole Osmer — will compete at the next level.
Kennedy is staying close to home as he will attend Tyler Junior College to play for head coach Mike Marquis and the Apaches.
Miller will head to Montgomery, Alabama, to play for NCAA Division III Huntingdon College, and Osmer will go to Sioux City, Iowa, to play for NAIA Morningside College.
Miller and Osmer both picked up lacrosse in middle school.
Miller was originally a football player, while Osmer played baseball. They have both switched positions since they began the sport, as well.
Miller began as a midfielder but has transitioned into a volume-scoring attacker, while Osmer once was an attacker and is now a goalkeeper.
“After I scored my first goal, I realized how much I loved it,” Miller said.
“As soon as he started playing, I would pass him the ball, and would score, and I was like ‘OK, you’re pretty good,’” Osmer said. “And then I ended up switching positions, so now we get to go against each other in practice.”
Osmer said his move to goalie came about when the starting goalie moved when he was in eighth grade. They started passing the goalie gear around, and it got to him.
“No way I’m doing this,” Osmer said at the time. “I’m playing attack.”
Osmer said he played goalie for one practice and was making some saves, and he’s been in the goal ever since.
First-year Cumberland lacrosse coach Nick Williams said both schools are fortunate to get each player at their current positions.
“Brandon is an absolute leader and an absolute stud,” Williams said. “He’s someone you want to build a program around. He has a knack to get in there and find the back of the net.
“With Cole, they’re getting an a lights-out goalie.. He will step in there no matter what and get a stop. He’s also a lefty, which kind of throws the shooter off.”
Williams said Miller is No. 2 in the state in goals scored, and Osmer is one of the leaders in save percentage.
Miller said he had offers from Mount Olive and Division I Mount St. Mary’s, but that he really liked the coaching and environment of Huntingdon.
Osmer was originally verbally committed to Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado, to play for head coach Keith Lindgren, who has been named as the first head coach for the Morningside program.
Miller is a two-time first-team All-District selection, a second-team All-State pick, a Warrior National All-American, and he holds multiple school records. He is also a two-time regional qualifier in cross country. He is in the top 15 percent of his class with a 3.7 GPA, and he plans to major in exercise science.
Osmer is a four-time defensive MVP, and has been a first-team and second-team All-District selection. Osmer is ranked 17th in his class with a 3.98 GPA, and he plans to major in nursing.
Kennedy has been the cornerstone of the Knights’ basketball program and will now look to add to the Apaches’ success.
“It seemed like a good place to start,” Kennedy said. “Seeing Jimmy Butler and everybody else play there, it seems like a fun environment to be in. I see a lot of intensity and passion when I watch them play.”
“They’re getting a great athlete,” Cumberland athletic director and head basketball coach Brian Crawford said. “He can jump above the rim, and Mike does a great job with guys like that. He can shoot it, and he’s got great length and size for the defenses they like to run. I’m really excited to see what he does in his two years there.”
Kennedy was the Co-Defensive Player of the Year in District 16-4A, and he was also an All-Academic selection.