Senior lead the way: Troup volleyball seniors share a bond that goes well beyond the lines on the court

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The Troup volleyball team celebrated four of its very best on Monday for senior night. Haley Blair, Hailey Clark, Gracie Horton and Kaitlyn Walker were treated like queens, tiaras and all.

It has been a long journey for the four, as they grew up on the court together.

“It is so odd being the ones celebrated on senior night because I have gotten so used to seeing everybody else get celebrated on senior night,” Horton said. 

Clark, Horton and Walker are Tigers for life, but Blair spent her freshman year playing at Callaway High before transferring over to start her sophomore year. Troup has been home ever since.

“It was different at first,” Blair said. “Once I met these girls, I knew that I had met a real friend group.”

Blair has played other sports over the years, but for the other three it has been primarily volleyball. Clark even said she has dedicated her life to it and will find it strange when she has to let it go.

Horton has never been a part of a volleyball team that did not feature Clark, who first got her hooked up on the sport. 

Despite their veteran status on the team, the four do not feel like leaders of the team, but rather that anybody can be a leader on any given night. 

“It is not like we’re really going out there and leading them,” Clark said. “We are all in this thing together and follow each other’s lead.”

The bond between Troup volleyball players has always been strong, but this year’s team has an even stronger bond than the ones that came before.

“It is going to be very hard to leave them because this year’s team has a really tight bond,” Horton said. 

Walker added that the team “feels like one big family where nobody is better than anybody else.”

“This team is absolute friendship, we are one big sisterhood,” Blair said. “I love these girls so much.

“Some days coach (Hutch) Blair has to come get us out of the locker room for practice because we will be in there talking away.” 

The Troup volleyball season is not wrapping just yet. The team will host the Dig Pink tournament on Wednesday, but have both eyes on their region tournament on Oct. 12 at Whitewater. 

“Even if we don’t make it far at state, I think it will be a good experience to build our relationships even stronger before it is all over with,” Walker said. “It will be fun to spend even more time with each other.”

All four have been starters on the varsity team since last season which has seen the four grow even closer. 

“This is the strongest bond of any team that I’ve ever been apart of,” said Clark, who has been playing the sport since the fourth grade — the longest of any of the four seniors.

The Tigers celebrated their seniors in the best way possible on Monday, defeating Callaway High in three sets.