Malaya Cowles, a former standout at Wilkes Central High School, signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to continue her basketball career at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.

Cowles, a 6-3 forward from Wilkesboro, was recruited by Coach Jen Hoover to compete in the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference. She averaged 19.5 points, 18.5 rebounds and four blocked shots as a sophomore at Wilkes Central.

She transferred to Winston-Salem Christian for her junior year and helped the team compile a 32-5 record, including a perfect 12-0 mark at home.

Cowles transferred back to Wilkes Central and is currently on pace to graduate early. She said Monday that she does not plan to play for Central’s basketball team when practice starts on Dec. 7.

Other signings

West Wilkes High School’s Cheyenne Clonch signed a letter of intent Friday to play volleyball at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory. Clonch is the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference’s back-to-back player of the year as a middle/outside hitter.

Wilkes Central’s Christa Walsh signed a letter of intent Thursday (her birthday) to play softball at Lander University in Greenwood, S.C. Walsh batted .382 and had a 5-3 pitching record in 2019 for the Eagles, leading to an all-MVAC nod.

West Wilkes’ Riley Ledford signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play baseball at Queens University in Charlotte. The left-handed senior was named the MVAC’s pitcher of the year in 2018 and 2019.

West Wilkes’ Braxton Church signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play baseball at Appalachian State University in Boone. The catcher batted .432 last year and was named all-MVAC.

Ledford and Church are scheduled to do ceremonial signings Friday at West High. Those photos will be published in a later edition of the Wilkes Journal-Patriot.

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