She arrived at London High School as a freshman trying to be somebody. She leaves with a collection of younger athletes wanting to be like her.
London senior volleyball standout Addison Conley reflected a little bit on her earlier days Wednesday, Nov. 8, as she signed a National Letter of Intent to play Division I volleyball at the University of Tennessee-Martin during a ceremony at the high school.
“I’ve been blessed to be a part of this team the last four years,” Conley said. “You know we were small and people underestimated us, but we beat a lot of really good teams. Forming that bond with these girls and taking the leadership lessons Coach Eades instilled in all of us, I plan taking those with me and try to lead the team down there.”
Conley, had plenty of options when it came to choosing where she wanted to play in college. But there was something special about University of Tennessee-Martin that seemed to resonate with her.
“It just felt like home when I went down there and the community is similar to London,” she said. “Most people are ‘like I want to get out of London’ but for me it felt great. Even though I’m going to be six and half to seven hours away from home, it just felt like I had a family down there.”
London coach Darrell Eades said he knew right away that Conley would be playing volleyball beyond high school. When he saw her on the floor as a freshmen, he knew this day was coming.
“They’re getting a great student, she does great in the classroom, she’s also a very good athlete and a great kid,” Eades said. “You couldn’t ask for anything more. She’s a great teammate, she does everything, she’s her teammate’s biggest cheerleader, they’re getting a great young lady.
“Back when she was a freshmen, she was a little raw but you could just see the ability, we knew she was going places. She’s made such big strides since then. She came in as a freshman with all those seniors and I’m sure she was a little scared, being afraid to mess up. But in the last two years she has really become a leader. It’s been pretty sweet watching her grow up.”
All the long days of practice, all the early mornings traveling from gym to gym and tournament to tournament have finally paid off for Conley.
“It is a culmination of almost 10 years of hard work, and it’s something I’ve worked for a really long time,” Conley said. “And it means the world to me to be able to do it with all of my friends and family members here.“
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.