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Daniel to join Lady Statesmen

When Russellville High School’s Kalli Beth Daniel was trying to decide where to continue her softball career, she felt at home when she discovered Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss.

She was drawn to the coaching staff right away.

“They are close, like a family, and their coach cares – she has a relationship with each and every one of her players,” Daniel said. And while she was sold on the coaching staff and program, she was also attracted to the campus. “It was small but big at the same time,” she said. “I liked the community, and the people are so friendly.”

Daniel signed to play softball at Delta State during a signing ceremony last week in the Russellville High School field house. She plans to major in occupational therapy.

From RHS, Daniel will treasure memories of going on trips to tournaments and the whole team being together in a hotel. She was an integral part of last season’s team that competed at the state tourney level for the first time in school history, under Coach John Smith. With Smith’s retirement, new head coach Kathryn Montgomery is eager to take the reins this spring and glad to have one more season with Daniel among the Lady Golden Tigers.

“I’m very excited to work with athletes of her caliber,” Montgomery said. “It takes a lot of hard work to move up to the next level, and I’ve heard even from the coach she is going to play under next year that she is an extreme athlete.

“I’m very excited about working with her this year.”

Parents Kelby and Terri Daniel have memories of their daughter playing ball with her brothers as a child, and they have done everything they can to support and encourage Daniel as she tried to choose a school.

“She has worked so hard and put so much time into it,” Kelby said. “She just enjoys the competition of it.”

RCS Superintendent Heath Grimes congratulated Daniel as she heads to play next-level ball. “Any time our school system is represented by athletes like this, we’re proud of their accomplishments,” he said. “We want to see them succeed on so many different levels, and we hope we’ve had a little part in giving them the tools to do that.”

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