LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant softball program has announced the addition of five newcomers for the 2017-18 year. Shelby Ralston, Faith Payne, Jada Allmon, Lizzie Benson and Kelsey Westmoreland have committed to Covenant with the intent to play softball under head coach Christine Engbers.
Shelby Ralston - Dalton, Ga. - Northwest Whitfield High School
Ralston comes to Covenant after transferring from Bryan College. As a freshman at Bryan, she appeared in 21 games and scored 10 runs. A native of Dalton, Ga., Ralston attended Northwest Whitfield High School, where she was an All-Area and All-Region player on the 2012 and 2013 4A state championship teams.
Ralston comes to Covenant with high academic honors, including honor roll all four years in high school, graduating with highest honors. She plans on majoring in elementary education, which she hopes to use to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a special needs teacher. In high school, she spent time volunteering at the Special Olympics, Salvation Army Food Bank and City of Refuge homeless kitchen to name a few. On choosing Covenant, Ralston said, "It was a small, Christian college that I could continue playing the game I love."
Faith Payne - Chattanooga, Tenn. - Lookout Valley High School
Payne, a Chattanooga, Tenn., native played first and third base at Lookout Valley High School. In high school, she maintained a .457 batting average along with a .597 on-base percentage with 23 runs batted in. She is also a member of the National Honor Society as well as a Tennessee Scholar.
Payne plans on majoring in art with a concentration in communication design at Covenant, which she hopes to use to begin her career as a graphic designer in the marketing and advertising industry. "I prayed for God to guide me through my decision in choosing a college and from the first time I visited campus, I knew this is where he was leading me," said Payne on her decision to attend Covenant. "I liked the accessibility to professors, strong student community, and overall Christian atmosphere."
Jada Allmon - LaFayette, Ga. - LaFayette High School
Allmon comes from LaFayette, Ga., where she lettered for four years in both softball and basketball. Playing her travel ball with Force Elite 99, Allmon was primarily a shortstop. Along with athletics, Allmon brings strong academics to Covenant graduating with honors, as well as a member of Beta Club.
Allmon plans on majoring in education while at Covenant. On choosing Covenant, Allmon said, "I love the atmosphere at Covenant, it really feels like home. I feel like Covenant will challenge me and help me grow as a person."
Lizzie Benson - Altamonte Springs, Fla. - Lyman High School
The second transfer in this year's class, Benson comes to Covenant after two years at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla. A native of Altamonte Springs, Fla., she attended Lyman High School where she graduated with honors. During her time at Lyman, Benson earned 2015 second team all-conference as well as team MVP honors. She also led the team in innings pitched, strikeouts, wins, ERA and WHIP.
At Covenant, Benson is planning on majoring in business with a concentration in accounting, which she plans to use to become a CPA and to open up her own softball training facility. She has spent time volunteering at the Boys and Girls Clubs, and coaching younger Future Rebels travel teams. On choosing Covenant, Benson said, "I enjoyed the school and campus, and felt very comfortable and welcome."
Kelsey Westmoreland - Toccoa, Ga. - Stephens County High School
Westmoreland comes to Covenant from Toccoa, Ga., where she attended and lettered for three seasons at Stephens County High School. A member of Jack City 18U, she can play catcher, second base and outfield.
Westmoreland plans on majoring in elementary education in hopes of becoming a teacher. In high school, she was a member of the Anchor Club and Beta Club while receiving Awards in Excellence in both civics and literature.
"Covenant stood out to me more than the other places I visited," said Westmoreland about her decision. "I visited Covenant three times and each time I went back, the more it felt like a place I could call home for the next four years of my life. I love the school's atmosphere, how much the people there genuinely care about you, and how the softball program thrives."