By Darren Reese
A recruiting visit to NCAA Division I school Southern Illinois made a tremendous impact on South Greene senior Maelyn Cutshaw during her college recruitment process.
It showed her that sometimes there truly is no place like home.
Cutshaw announced Wednesday that she will continue her athletic and educational career at nearby Tusculum College next fall.
The basketball and volleyball standout was celebrated with a signing ceremony at the high school, where she was joined by family and coaches.
"I loved everything about Southern Illinois," Cutshaw admitted. "But while I was there, reality kind of smacked me in the face."
"Here I was seven hours away from home. I always thought I wanted to go far away for college, but that kind of changed my mind."
Cutshaw will be able to play both sports at Tusculum. She describes basketball as her first love, but she has also grown quite fond of volleyball over the years.
"I've played basketball all my life," she said. "I started volleyball around the sixth grade."
"I wanted to try and do both in college if at all possible. I am excited about the opportunity to go to Tusculum."
Cutshaw brings with her a long list of accomplishments for both sports.
She recently completed her high school volleyball career by helping South Greene to its fourth consecutive state tournament appearance.
Cutshaw received All-State honors as a sophomore and a junior (the 2012 team has yet to be announced). She was the 2010 and 2011 district Co-Player of the Year.
She was the MVP of the District 2-A/AA tournament all four of her years, and was region tourney MVP the first three.
Earlier this year, she received Tennessee Player of the Week honors by MaxPreps.
As a team, South Greene had a 118-28 overall record and twice finished fourth at state with Cutshaw in the line-up.
On the basketball court, Cutshaw has been an All-District and All-Region performer the past two seasons. During the 2011-12 campaign, she eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career.
The Lady Rebels made it to the final four at state her freshman year.
Cutshaw said there were many other factors that played into her decision to sign with Tusculum.
One of the most important ones was the school's first-class athletic training program. Cutshaw has ambitions of one day working with a professional sports team.
She also instantly bonded with the Tusculum coaches, including women's basketball head coach Katrina Williams and head volleyball coach Michael Robinson.
"They have been wonderful, not just from a sports' aspect, but they really care about you as a person," Cutshaw said.
"Everyone is laid back and fun to be around. That was something I was looking for."
Cutshaw is the daughter of Mark and Candy Cutshaw.