Sidelined by injury for most of her senior season, Christie Gray wondered at times if her dream of playing college volleyball would ever come true.
The Purdy High School senior never gave up, worked diligently to make it back to the court by season's end, and on Thursday, took the first step toward achieving her dream by signing a national letter of intent to play volleyball at Park University in Parkville.
"Through all of the trials and setbacks that have come my way, I have never given up on my dream of playing college volleyball," said Gray, the daughter of Maxine and Ron Gray, of Purdy. "I feel very honored to have the opportunity and privilege of continuing my career at the collegiate level."
The talented, dual-sport athlete competed for the Purdy Lady Eagles in both softball and volleyball. She was an integral part of the Purdy softball team that made it to state in 2003 and 2004 and received All-
Conference, All-District and All-Region honors in that sport during her high school career.
This year, Gray was named first team All-Ozark 7 Conference and first team All-District for her volleyball efforts.
"Christie is an outstanding individual," said Jennifer Schallert, Purdy volleyball coach. "Her dedication and work ethic and her overall understanding of the cards dealt to her and how she fought through injury, amazed all of us here.
"Christy is also a great volleyball player and an outstanding athlete," Schallert continued. "This is well deserved."
Currently, Gray is a member of Club Bear in Springfield. She competes at tournaments throughout the state as a member of the select club squad.
The Park University Lady Pirates' volleyball team is coached by Peggy Tuter. In 2005, the squad had a very successful season with a 25-14 record.
Park, a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), is located 10 miles north of Kansas City.