JCHS senior Sarah Swift got the rare opportunity to go on and play college level volleyball after signing with Emory & Henry College last week. Surrounded by friends family, and teammates from both the Lady Longhorn basketball program and volleyball team Swift made her decision official Friday morning in the high school media center.
Having played all four years, Swift became known as one of the best setters in the conference, making it no surprise that she began gaining attention from recruiters. Yet, it was actually head coach Eric Crabtree that put Sarah in touch with Emorys Coach, Dan Clotfelter.
I called Emory about her and talked to them when we were at camp and told them we had a girl they might be interested in, Crabtree said. They came and looked at her and watched a couple matches last year. She went to a couple practices. It was sort of a combined thing and Sarah had a desire to go there too. It was just kind of a match made in heaven.
Swift confirmed that she had already been looking at Emory as a possibility and when the opportunity came up she simply couldnt pass it by. I had been over to the campus a couple of times, said Swift. I just really liked the atmosphere and the feeling that you get when you walk onto campus. I just fell in love with it, and of course I love volleyball, so its just a win-win situation.
Having played on Johnson Countys varsity team since her sophomore year, Sarah has played a prominent role in helping the team become a competitive force in the conference for the past couple of years. For Coach Crabtree, who is now in his fourth year leading Johnson County, Swift has been there from the beginning and now that she will be leaving there are some big shoes to fill.
According to Crabtree, We always try to prepare from each level. From the JV team weve got two setters, from the freshman team weve got two setters, and we do have two setters ready to take her spot but it will be hard to replace Sarah because she just does so much. Well miss her in a lot of ways but we do have girls ready to come in and take that role.
Like most things, Swift put a lot of time and effort in getting to where she is now, something that Crabtree also admits. I had her three years, Crabtree said. She was a tenth grader when I got there, but all these girls came in and started fresh. She just developed through hard work, being there late, and a strong work ethic. Last year she was even able to play as more of an outside hitter. When she first started she could serve and she could set, but by the end she could hit, set, dig, and do it all. She was one of the best setters in the conference, but I know she will do well academically as well as athletically.
Swift has plans to go on and earn a degree in physical education so that she can one day teach, possibly even back in Johnson County. Yet, although she is undeniably a strong student in the classroom, Swift also acknowledges that she has had a lot of help along the way especially from her coaches, including Crabtree.
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