By Jim Steele
Martin-Westview has had its share of standout athletes in the past.
There have been NFL prospects who have worn the Charger uniform. Chad Clifton, Will Offenheusel and Justin Harrell come to mind. There have been dozens of Chargers and Lady Chargers who have been afforded the opportunity to play at the next level.
Next Thursday, Elizabeth Edwards will join those ranks. What makes Elizabeth so special? She will become the first Lady Charger volleyball player to earn a scholarship offer. On Dec. 7, she is expected to sign with Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson.
Edwards was a defensive specialist/libero for the Lady Chargers. Needless to say, she’s thrilled by the opportunity.
“I’m so excited and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” she said. “I’m excited to have an opportunity to play at that level and to be the first (from Westview) is exciting.”
So how in the world did the Lady Lions find out about Edwards? Her mom, Beth Edwards, explains.
“We went to watch Freed-Hardeman to watch the volleyball team play,” Mrs. Edwards said. “My husband said he thought the assistant coach was a good coach. The coach’s parents were sitting right behind us.”
From there, they struck up a conversation and let it be known that Elizabeth was looking for a place to play collegiate volleyball. That summer, Elizabeth took part in two different volleyball camps. The FHU staff was there as well. When it was over, Elizabeth received an email from the Lady Lions that they intended to recruit and sign her.
“You just never know where a casual conversation will lead you,” Mrs. Edwards said.
Elizabeth, in addition to her high school team, plays club volleyball. She plays club ball in Jackson and Dyersburg.
Over the past quarter century, high school volleyball has made its presence known in West Tennessee.
“Volleyball has really grown in West Tennessee, ” the prospect said. “It’s crazy to see how much it’s grown.”
Of course, Elizabeth will finish her senior year, but is looking forward to taking the floor for Freed-Hardeman next season.
I just want to get better every day, have a purpose and have fun,” she said.
Edwards, who plans to major in psychology, is set to sign at Westview at 9:30 a.m, Thursday, Dec. 7. Those who wish to attend the signing ceremony are encouraged to arrive early.