Bland, Montgomery discuss recent signings

Photos by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Southridge senior Dylan Bland (center) recently signed his letter of intent Wednesday to run cross country and track at the University of Southern Indiana. Looking on are mother Tresia (left) and father Chad (right). Back row are Southridge track coach Ted O'Brien (left) and brother and Southridge cross country coach Chase Bland (right).


HUNTINGBURG — They grew up together, competed in different sports and have a strong bond as first cousins, and their athletic success has allowed them to sign their letter of intents to partake in a sport at the next level.

Dylan Bland and Colson Montgomery both signed with their respective collegiate choices Wednesday at League Stadium in Huntingburg. Bland signed to run cross country and track at the University of Southern Indiana, while Montgomery signed to play baseball at Indiana University.

“It meant a lot, especially being there with Dylan, me and him and both doing it at the same time, and being family, too,” Montgomery said. “When we were younger, we both knew we kind of wanted to go to the next level of our sports. And just the fact that it came true and that we got to be able to do it with each other, with our families there in front of the community in one of the nicest stadiums, too, in Southern Indiana at League Stadium — I don’t know what else you could ask for for a ceremony like that.”

Bland put it succinctly the memories he has of growing up with Montgomery.

“Him pretty much always beating me at everything, just about, and then finally I decided to start running, and finally got him there,” Bland said with a chuckle.

Both of them will soon be leaving Southridge after putting together some accomplished athletic careers. Montgomery rewrote the record books on the basketball court, and is expected to soon hear his name called at the 2021 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in July.

Bland, meanwhile made history in 2020 as the first boy in Southridge history to run the 5K in under 16 minutes during cross country season, and has gone on to set more records during track season. He holds school records in the 1600m run (4:25.01) and 3200m run (9:44.27), and combined to set a record of 8:28.79 in the 3200m relay with fellow seniors Cameron Giles, Ricky Pflanz and Tanner Kane.

Colson Montgomery (center) signed his letter of intent on Wednesday to play baseball at Indiana University. With him are father TJ (left) and mother Lisa (right). Back row, from left, are brothers Hudson and Jayden, and sisters Myah and Avah. On the side are Southridge baseball coach Gene Mattingly (left) and athletic director Scott Buening (right).

The two of them each had their reasons for picking their respective schools.

“I talked to Coach (Mike) Hillyard a whole lot, since my brother (Chase) was talking to Hillyard when he was in the recruiting process,” Dylan said. “And I’ve known him for a very long time. He’s a smart coach, and knows what to do and when to do it — and I just felt like that decision was the best for me in my future plans.”

“It was mostly because of the connection I had with the head coach, Jeff Mercer,” Montgomery said. “It was just a connection that I knew that I didn’t feel like I could have with any other coach.”

Dylan plans to major in business administration at USI, while Montgomery will have his decision to make to honor his commitment to IU or sign with the team that drafts him. Montgomery said where he goes in the draft will factor into his decision, but if he does pick IU, he will major in sports psychology.

For now, though, they’ll both look to put the bow on their high school careers. Bland is set to compete in the 1600m and 3200m run Thursday at the Evansville Central boys track regional, while Montgomery and the Raiders are set to begin their postseason on Memorial Day, as they have a bye into the sectional semifinals against Pike Central.

“Right now, in the front of my mind, is just be a kid,” Montgomery said. “This is all kid stuff. I’m just taking it as this is all normal, but with extra things like the draft and then the decisions of if I want to go to college or start my professional baseball career, that just comes as time. I’m just trying to be in the present right now and enjoy my last couple days at Southridge High School, where it pretty much all started.”

“It’s really starting to warm up here, and so fluids are a major key and just getting the right nutrition in your body and sleep is just a key, (that’s) all you can do going into this week now,” Dylan said.

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