By Tameia Mitchell--Editor
Though things are uncertain, one thing remains the same, hope: hope and excitement for the future. Junior Courtney Bryant gets to continue to play the sport she loves for another four years at NC State.
"I received an offer August 29, 2020, and I committed on September 13, 2020," Bryant says.
Several other offers came her way.
“I had a total of 4 full ride offers from NC State, VT, Liberty and Lipscomb. I also received an offer from UVA,” Bryant says.
NC State was one of Bryant's top options.
"NC State had been sending me questionnaires through text messages a few months prior to June 15. They weren’t allowed to answer, according to the NCAA guidelines. However, NC State had shown interest for a little while which made me always put them in one of my top choices," Bryant states.
Bryant felt at home.
"I visited NC State the first time on July 2. I wasn’t quite sure that's where I wanted to go yet because I was on the start of a trip to look at several colleges throughout that week. However, a few weeks later the coach reached out about coming to visit again. So, I went again on September 10. When I visited this time, a few of the current volleyball players from NC State gave me a little tour around the campus and I absolutely fell in love with it. As soon as I left, I knew that was going to be my future home," she says.
Her friends and family are supportive.
"My family and friends all were very supportive through this crazy process, especially during this pandemic. It was extremely challenging, but definitely worth it. My decision was all up to me, and my parents found out the same time I told my whole family. All of them were very excited and supportive of my decision," she says.
Her support system is excited about her commitment.
“I know that choosing a college was hard, but NC State showed they cared about her. They have a family oriented team that she will fit into well, so she felt great about verbally committing to NC State. Go pack!” says Eagle alumni Kristen Bryant.
Bryant's commitment ceremony looked different in the midst of COVID.
"I did have a small ceremony with my close family and some of my friends got to join in through a facetime call," says Bryant.
Along with finding a passion for sports, Bryant has also made lifelong friends.
“I’ve made a lot of really great friendships on both school teams and travel. It’s one of the main reasons I love playing them,” states Bryant.
One friend in particular has been growing with Bryant for a while.
“I have known her since we were 10 when we started playing travel softball together. We have always been friends, but the summer after 8th grade we really became close and have been best friends ever since,” says junior Laken Adkins.
Bryant shows diligence at practice.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed having Courtney on my team the past 2 seasons. She is a very hard worker and a steady presence at practices,” says volleyball coach Kaitlyn Dula.
During games Bryant brings a positive energy.
“She is level-headed and keeps a great attitude about all aspects of practice/games. Courtney is a dynamic player - very fun to watch. She has incredible talent and a way about her that helps to lift other players around her. When Courtney gets hype on the court it's hard not to celebrate with her!” says Dula.
Bryant’s teammates are encouraged by her during matches.
“When Court gets on a good streak of kills it always hypes the team up and helps us to do better as a team,” says Adkins.
Along with growing in skill Bryant has grown in other aspects.
“Courtney has come into her own, she has accepted leadership roles and has become more confident in her own ability in the time that I have known her. She used to be very shy and is now a very fun-loving and outgoing individual on my team,” says Dula.
Even her teammates have noticed her growth in confidence.
“Volleyball especially has helped grow her confidence and she has opened up to so many people and it has helped her to be confident on the court too when playing,” says Adkins.
Bryant now gets to bask in the joy of her sport.
"The past two years, I’ve spent a lot of time reaching out to colleges trying to get seen at all of my tournaments. Now that I have committed, all of the pressure and stress is off of my shoulders. Now that I don’t have to do that, I have realized that volleyball brings me joy, with or without colleges recruiting me. It’s about making friendships that will last a lifetime and learning life lessons and responsibilities through a sport I love," Bryant states.