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Layton joins ACC softball, women’s hoops programs

News Photo by James Andersen Alcona High School senior Rachel Layton, seated center, is pictured with her family at Alpena Community College on Thursday. Layton signed her Letter of Intent to join the ACC softball and women’s basketball programs.

ALPENA — As long as she’s been involved in sports, Rachel Layton has always been competitive.

That competitive nature has helped Layton as she’s played for the Alcona High School softball and girls basketball teams and now she hopes it will help her as she takes the next step in her athletic career.

On Thursday, Layton signed her Letter of Intent to join the Alpena Community College women’s basketball and softball programs.

“It means quite a lot. I have always loved sports. I’ve been playing since I could walk and these are two of my favorites, so I’m very happy to be here today,” Layton said. “I’ve just always had a fire in me. I’m very competitive and these are two very competitive sports, especially basketball and the physical aspect. I absolutely love that, it’s a big thing for me.”

Layton, who will pursue studies in nursing, averaged 5.8 points and 4.9 rebounds for the Tigers this season and has been a leader for Alcona’s softball team this spring.

She’s one of the first recruits signed by new ACC women’s basketball coach Cindy DeRocher, who is herself an Alcona alum.

DeRocher knows well the talent within the Tigers’ program and said Layton will be a great addition to Alpena’s roster.

Layton recently saw DeRocher’s name on Alcona’s athletic record boards and made the connection that ACC’s new coach was part of some of Alcona’s best teams.

“She’s a great athlete,” DeRocher said. “She’s strong, she runs the floor really well, she has good skill inside and I think she comes from a strong program there at Alcona.”

Layton will join an ACC softball program that’s coming off a successful season, which included a spot in the playoffs.

Staying competitive in two sports will be a challenge, but it’s one that Layton said she’s prepared for.

“There’s definitely a different level of play. I’m well aware of that and I’m fully prepared to adjust to it, but it definitely will be a challenge,” Layton said.

Layton, who competed with the Tigers in a Division 4 softball district on Friday, said her endearing memories of her high school career will be the bonds she made with teammates.

“It’s a small, small school, so I think what I will remember most is definitely the bond with my teams,” Layton said. “I’ve become very close with both of them and that’s something I will always remember.”

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