The Red Bank Lionettes have had years and years of success on the volleyball court as they have been regular participants in the annual state tournament in Murfreesboro.
There have been numerous outstanding players who have contributed to that success.
Two of the most recent just got rewarded for their hard work as Savannah Nelson and Shelby Hayes signed scholarship papers in the school library on Thursday morning to attend Dalton State.
The Roadrunners have been in business for a long time, but just recently made the transition to be a four-year school.
Bruna Langner, a native of Brazil who played at Lee University and has been an assistant coach at the Cleveland school for the past four years, has recently been named to lead the Dalton State team. Former Red Bank coach Christel Brooks is one of the first people she contacted in search of outstanding talent.
"Bruna called me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I had any girls that I'd be interested in and I told her I had two," Brooks said during Thursday's celebration.
"I was fortunate to coach some very good girls in my time here and these were two of the best. Savannah and Shelby have left their mark here at Red Bank. I'm really proud of what they accomplished here.
"I'm super excited for their opportunity as they will bring a lot to this new program. I feel like it will be a great fit for them both," Brooks added.
"I'm really happy to be getting them," Langner said while pictures were being taken,
"They're both great players who will have a chance to make history as members of our first volleyball team. I've known them from camps I've been associated with and I know that they are both outstanding volleyball players and very good people too," Langner added.
Nelson and Hayes have been members of the Red Bank squad for the last four years and have been starters for the past three.
The Lionettes won a state title in 2009 when they were freshmen. Since that time, they finished second in 2010, third in 2011 and fifth this past season when they helped Red Bank compile a 39-10 record.
Nelson is a slender six-footer while Hayes is only about 5-7. However, Hayes has extreme leaping ability and helped Nelson be double-trouble at the net for Red Bank opponents. Nelson has long arms and can really pound the ball on a spike, but Hayes may be the most aggressive hitter in the area who can personally turn a match around.
Savannah is the daughter of Rob and Cricket Nelson and the half-brother of 26-year-old Bradley. She has intentions of majoring in history with plans to return to her alma mater as a history teacher and vollleyball coach one day.
"Volleyball is the only sport I play and it's been a year-round activity for the last four years. It's a brand new team at Dalton. We'll be young, but I hope we can bring a national championship back in the near future.
"Shelby and I have great chemistry on the volleyball court as we both know what the other is going to do. There's nobody I would have rather signed with today than her," Nelson said with a smile.
"We've been talking about today's event all week and I'm so excited about the possibilities," Shelby said.
While Nelson has teaching and coaching in her future plans, Hayes wants to major in radiology where she hopes to have a job one day "doing ultrasounds and x-rays."
"We've had such a wonderful time together at Red Bank and I never thought I'd get another chance to play with her, so this means an awful lot to me.
"It's a really big opportunity for me. It's far enough away where I can still get that college experience of living in a dorm, but it's close enough to come home every so often. I'm excited about our future there," the daughter of Lisa Howe said with confidence.
Coach Langner is busy trying to complete her first recruiting class and there are several other players in the Chattanooga area who may be headed toward Dalton as well.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)