Perry headed to Clemson

By Anthony Rhoads

Going to Clemson University is getting to be a family affair for the Perrys.

Riverdale senior Tia Perry has signed a track scholarship to Clemson and will be following in the footsteps of her brother Lydell, who is currently at the university.

"Me and him, that's my best friend," Perry said after the signing ceremony held Tuesday at Riverdale High School. "I'm happy about that. It feels great and I love the opportunities the coaches here have given me."

Perry will definitely leave a legacy at Riverdale. Going into her senior season this spring, she holds five school records, has captured two state championships in the 400-meter dash and was the anchor of last year's 4x400 state championship relay team.

"She's living out a dream most student-athletes don't have the chance to fulfill," Riverdale girls track coach Terry Beckham said. "She has earned every bit of it. She's never complained about a workout; she's always positive. I'm proud of her."

Beckham said Clemson recruited Perry as a sprinter but she has the talent to compete in just about every event in track and field.

"There's not an event she can't compete in," Beckham said. "She can do everything in the track, including the shotput. The kind of talent she has is God-given. It's been a blessing to coach her and to be a part of these kids' lives. It's an exciting opportunity for these student-athletes to get a chance to get their education."

She has been running track since middle school and has been competing in the AAU Running Panthers track program for three years.

Perry has also excelled in basketball. Last year, she was key player on a team that made it all the way to the Class AAAAA Final Four.

She plans to major in communications at Clemson and eventually she wants to become a news or sports broadcaster.