Ooltewah’s Karly Newman and Adam Hubert signed college scholarships on Thursday in ceremonies at the school’s Little Theater.
Newman, a 5-foot-9-inch outside hitter, signed with Dalton State College’s first-year volleyball program. New Roadrunners coach Bruna Langner was on hand to watch Newman’s signing.
Hubert, the Owls’ starting free safety in 2012, will help Berry College start its first football team after having given up most hope that he could continue his football career on the college level.
“We’re very lucky to have Karly Newman join the Dalton State program,” said Langner, a former outstanding volleyball player at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. “I’ve seen her play and she’s a good player. I think she’s going to help us a lot.”
Newman was a two-year starter for the Lady Owls and recorded 357 kills, 745 digs, 37 assists, 109 aces and 39 blocks during her career.
In Newman’s senior season, Ooltewah won District 5-AAA regular season and tournament champion, Region 3-AAA champs and finished fifth in the state tournament.
Newman had 262 kills, 486 digs, 17 assists, 70 aces and 24 blocks her final season with the Lady Owls.
“I wanted to stay pretty close to home but be far enough away that I could get the college experience,” Newman said. “I’ve known Bruna for a while, starting with when she was at Lee University and I attended a camp up there.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity I have and I believe we’re going to have an amazing program at Dalton State. I expect a lot from our program.”
Lady Owls coach Elaine Peigen, who attended the signing party despite having surgery on Wednesday, expects big things from her former player as well.
“She’s an outstanding young lady,” Peigen said. “She’s a motivator with a great work ethic and a great role model. She wants to do really well.”
Newman didn’t have to look at any other school before deciding where she would play college volleyball.
“I pretty much had my mind made up,” she said. “I wouldn’t change a thing about what we did at Ooltewah and being here gave me a strong work ethic and I’ll carry that with me to Dalton State.”
Hubert lettered three years under coach Shannon Williams, who stepped down after the 2012 season to take an assistant’s job at Walton High School in Florida.
Hubert was introduced to the crowd – assistant volleyball coach Heidi Moses introduced Newman – by his first youth coach Dean Moorehouse.
“Adam has good speed, a good eye for the football, good grades and is the kind of kid you want on your football team,” said Moorehouse, also a close friend to the Hubert family.
Hubert intercepted two passes and broke up two more while helping the Owls post a 9-4 record. The Owls lost to Columbia in the state playoff quarterfinals.
Now, Hubert is looking beyond Ooltewah to Berry College, which will field its first football team in the fall.
“Berry was the first school that contacted me back in October,” Hubert said. “That caught me off guard because I was ready to put football aside and hope that a scholarship might come for me in track.
“I went down for a visit and the campus is beautiful. I fell in love with the coaches. They have a good FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) program down there and it’s cool that I’ll be playing on their first football team. Ten years down the road I can say I was a part of that.”
The Vikings, coached by Tony Kunczewski, will compete in the Southern Athletic Association and play in the new on-campus Valhalla Stadium. Berry opens the 2013 season at home against Maryville, one of two other schools that showed interest in Hubert.
“I also visited LaGrange (Ga.) College and Maryville showed a little interest but didn’t pursue me as hard as the other schools,” Hubert said. “I pushed Maryville aside and once I walked on the Berry campus that was enough for me.”
As far as the new Vikings stadium, the construction was slowed by an eagle’s nest.
“There were little eagles in the next and that’s the American bird,” the 18-year-old Hubert said, recalling seeing the nest on his visit to the Rome, Ga., campus. “They couldn’t cut down the tree the nest was in, but they’re still hoping everything will be ready for the season-opening game.”
Hubert expects to be one of about 60-plus freshmen reporting for fall practice in August and believes the competition to playing time will be strong.
“We’re not only being recruited but we’re going to be playing this coming year,” he said. “I’ll get a working plan in late May and I’m going to be ready when I get down there. It’s going to be a really cool experience.”
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org)