Hornets' Lawton to throw with Lions

May 25—It all hit Aiken High's AnDarius Lawton at the last minute.

With graduation day approaching, Lawton was just planning to go to college to continue his studies while leaving track and field behind.

Then Lawton, a member of the Hornets' program since his middle-school days, started catching the attention of college coaches with his performances toward the end of the season.

A scholarship offer came, and now Lawton will continue his athletic pursuits, too. He was honored Wednesday for signing with Emmanuel College.

"It's come full circle," he said. "I have fun with my teammates, no doubt. It's been an amazing five years. I've been doing this since the eighth grade. For my hard work to pay off, even though I had trying times this season, but you know, I pushed through. I did what I had to do, and I got the marks that I needed to get to get the scholarship. I just want to thank everybody who put the time in."

It happened at the last minute, when his future coach at Emmanuel reached out with the offer Lawton had been hoping for.

"The night he sent the papers, I was like, 'God, just show me a sign. Just give me a sign,'" he said. "And then a few moments later after I got out of the shower, he called me and was like, 'Did you get the email?' I looked at the email and saw the paper, and I ran in my mom and dad's room and was like, 'It's time. It's time.' We just had to look at the financial aid and go from there."

Lawton plans to study history and pre-law in college, and he thanked a big support system of coaches, teammates and family members who helped him push him to perfect his craft and better himself to reach this point.

"It's amazing to see how far he's come since middle school," said Aiken head coach John Hostetler. "It's great to see him move on just like his brother (Antavious, who signed with North Greenville two years ago). And then hopefully, his sister's (Alira) coming up and will be a senior next year, just to see all the Lawtons going to college for track and field is a really great thing to see. He's been able to add a caliber that we needed in the throws. He did well in both the shot and discus this year. He did super well at region, and that's what pushed him. Emmanuel College came to see him at region, and that was a good thing."

Lawton has competed in the shot put and discus throw for years for the Hornets, earning plenty of points to help them win meets, and at Emmanuel he'll get to try something new — the hammer throw, one of the four traditional throws, in which athletes throw a metal ball that's attached to a grip by a steel wire.

At Emmanuel he'll also have the opportunity to compete at meets against his brother, as both Emmanuel and North Greenville are members of Conference Carolinas. Additionally, he's looking forward to enjoying the college experience while also improving on what he accomplished at the high school level.

"I think he's going to take advantage of it," Hostetler said. "I think a college program will help him be super successful, too. He's very smart. He's going to do very well academically, and I think athletically they'll just be able to push him a little bit further, which will be great."