Van Alstyne duo headed to the next level

Griff Servati
For the Herald Democrat
Van Alstyne's Tatum Hartsfield signed to cheer for North Texas and Austin Cuthbertson signed with Midland University for powerlifting.

VAN ALSTYNE — Two Van Alstyne athletes signed their letters of intent to compete at the collegiate level as friends and family surrounded Austin Cuthbertson and Tatum Hartsfield for the announcements about their future destinations.

Cuthbertson, a state champion in powerlifting, will be attending Midland University in Nebraska while Hartsfield is joining the University of North Texas cheerleading program

After his performance at the state meet, offers made Cuthbertson change his plans for where he would attend college.

He missed out on the state meet his junior year after it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That missed opportunity had more effects than an empty place in his trophy case. It limited his exposure to opportunities like competing at the next level.

But he had a chance to make up for it this season and he took advantage by capturing the state title at 114 pounds and the attention of powerlifting programs.

"I wasn't expecting this offer; I am blessed to have this opportunity," Cuthbertson said.

He shared what helped him decide on attending Midland

"The school is in a small town like Van Alstyne, and the team was very welcoming and looking forward to be a part of the family of lifters," Cuthbertson said.

One thing that did not change about his plans, he plans to study Youth and Family Ministries at the private Christian university.

Hartsfield is the youngest sibling and completes the trifecta of competing at the next level. Brother Tanner played football at Hendrix College and sister Taylor also cheered at UNT.

Tatum recognized that the familiarity of the program helped her make the decision.

"I am following the footsteps of my sister, I already knew the coaches," she said. "They have been recruiting me since my sophomore year, and I just knew it was the perfect place for me."

Hartsfield will be on the coed cheer squad and she plans to major in fashion merchandising.

"It is rewarding to know that my hard work finally paid off," she said before thanking her parents. "They helped me reach my goal of becoming a college cheerleader by taking me to college clinics, tumbling classes, and stunt lessons."