It’s a big deal for Maryville Christian School.
It’s an even bigger one for Laura Adams.
The Lady Eagle senior became the first Maryville Christian athlete to sign a National Letter of Intent when the volleyball star inked scholarship papers with Bryan College in Dayton last Wednesday. The Maryville Christian administration thought so much of what Adams was doing, it had the entire student body file into the school’s gymnasium to watch it happen.
“I can’t stop smiling,” Adams said. “It’s unbelievable.
“I’ve had so much support from everybody. I thank God every day for how much he’s blessed me.”
It was important for the school’s students to be present when Adams signed, Maryville Christian athletics director Richard Corbett said.
“We’ve had a lot of talented athletes here,” he said, “but we’ve mostly gotten academic scholarships. We want our students to know they can succeed (athletically) here (as well).”
That’s the way Lady Eagle senior Kristin Finley saw things.
“This is the first time we’ve had a signing,” she said, “so it’s a huge deal.”
Adams and Finley led Maryville Christian to a pair of TSCAA championships their sophomore and junior years.
The transition from high school to college should, in all likelihood, be a smooth one for the 5-foot-9 Adams. The Lady Lions compete in the National Christian College Athletic Association, with Bryan advancing to the association’s national tournament for the first time in 20 years last season, reaching the quarterfinals.
Bryan also competes in NAIA play as a member of the Appalachian Athletic Conference, with the Lady Lions reaching the Region XII finals a year ago. Finishing the season at 24-17, Bryan is a program on the rise. Adams, a super-athletic left-handed setter, is the kind of player the Lady Lions need to continue the climb, Bryan coach Leo Sayles said.
“I’ve seen her in club competition for the last two years,” the AAC Coach of the Year said. “She came to our camp last year. She walked in and she was settled and under control. She was the kind of athlete we like to have in our school.”
The athleticism Adams displays is equaled only by her humility, he said.
“It’s hard to find someone with that kind of skill that doesn’t know it,” Sayles said. “I think she has tremendous potential.”
Adams, president of the Maryville Christian Beta Club, will begin her career at Bryan as a presidential scholar and the top recruit academically in Sayles’ incoming class.
The workout with the Lady Lions was an eye-opening experience, Adams said. Bryan features a frontline with three players standing 6-foot tall or better.
“When I went down to work out with them, I was so nervous,” Adams said.
That paled, though, with sitting in a hushed gymnasium as the whole school watched as she went where no Lady Eagle had ever gone before.
“I just kept thinking, ‘I’m just writing my name,’” Adams said. “I’ve signed my name so many times.”
This time, though, it made history.