STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — Marble Falls High School senior Maddie Cline completed one of her goals when she signed a piece of paper Sept. 6 in front of her coach and parents.
That piece of paper was her National Letter of Intent to play volleyball for Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa.
Cline has been playing the sport since she was in the fourth grade, often sacrificing other activities to pursue volleyball.
“Nine years of stinking, smelling knees pads,” joked her mother, Jennifer Cline.
To secure a spot on the Graceland team, Cline had to try out for head coach Stew McDole, who is in his 37th season coaching the Yellowjackets.
Once the tryout was complete, McDole broke down Cline’s fundamentals, basics, and footwork and noted what she did well and where she’ll need to improve.
Cline chose the Yellowjackets because of the program’s success and the university offers an allied health major, which is a step toward her goal of becoming a physical therapist.
While Cline is an outside hitter for the Lady Mustangs, she said she was unsure which position she’ll play in college.
She developed a strong work ethic while playing for the Lady Mustangs, which is a trait she believes will help her on the next level.
“(Our high school coaches) keep on schedule a lot,” Cline said.
Part of that schedule is committing to play club volleyball and logging court time when few people are watching, Marble Falls volleyball coach Tanya Powers said.
“She has a passion for volleyball,” Powers said. “We’re extremely proud of her and happy. In high school volleyball, you only have four years, so take advantage of them. I’m very proud to have her as one of my team members. I think Graceland is lucky to have you.”
As for living out of state, Cline isn’t worried about that. She’s already had international travel experience through People to People International, an organization committed to enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural, and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences directly among people of different countries and diverse cultures, according to its website.
The Lady Mustang was one of 40 people who visited Australia for several weeks with the People to People International program.
Girls athletic coordinator John Berkman said watching an athlete sign to play on the collegiate level is a great day for the program.
“We’re definitely excited for her and her family,” he said. “We’re always striving to push athletes to be their best. She worked hard and put in the time, and that helped her to sign with Graceland.”
Cline had offers from Indiana Tech University, Doane (Nebraska), and West Florida.