Two Texoma high school volleyball seniors signed to play at the junior college level on Wednesday.
First, Holliday's Kimmie Berend signed to play for Ranger College in Ranger, Texas.
Berend's stellar play as a setter helped the Lady Eagles to the Class 2A State Tournament this past fall.
She is the fifth Lady Eagle senior this season to sign to play at the college level, joining Sarah Garfield (MSU), Morgan Lewis (Tyler JC), Kelci Bedingfield and Kristen Anderson (both Seward County CC).
They made up part of the final senior class for outgoing coach Mindy Patton, who will join her husband, outgoing Holliday football coach Cody Patton, at Tioga next year. They will both be building programs from scratch at the new high school in Grayson County.
Berend said the level of play in college will definitely be higher that she saw in high school, but in terms of pace, the college level might actually be a change-up.
"It's a higher level of play, and not just high school," Berend said. "It's a little bit slower, though, we did play a pretty fast game here at Holliday."
She said Ranger coach Hayley Schaffer was one major factor in her decision, but another was the small-town feeling of Ranger.
"Ranger is a small town, which is great," she said. "I was a little nervous about going off to college and everything. But it's a small town, and so is Holliday, so I'll be ready for it."
City View volleyball senior Jessica Howard signed Wednesday to play at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas. It's a two-year school which is part of the Dallas County Community College District.
Howard overcame two major shoulder injuries at City View, including one that cost her an entire season, and said that made the recruiting process difficult.
But she said Eastfield coach Audrey Glasscock, who coached at Vernon College from 2006-08, saw her at a tryout and offered her on the spot.
"My doctor told me there was a possibility I wouldn't even be able to play college volleyball," Howard said. "The fact that this opportunity has arisen for me, I'm taking full advantage of it."
Howard comes from an athletic family. Her older brother Corey Howard was a standout lineman at Rider who went to Central Arkansas and anticipates signing with an NFL team after this weekend's draft.
Their father Ivory Howard is the defensive line coach for the Wichita Falls Nighthawks and played for many years with the Wichita Falls Drillers.