Posted: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 7:38 pm
By Mike Phillips Daily Sun
Kasey McBrearty talked about heart, Ashley Grace talked about hard work and dedication and Teleia Braziel talked about dreams and tears.
And everyone smiled.
That’s what it looked like and felt like Wednesday afternoon at Corsicana High, where Braziel had a signing ceremony amid friends, teammates, coaches and family.
“It feels unreal. It feels like a dream, but than again, it’s happening,” said Braziel, who is the first volleyball player from Corsicana to go directly from high school to Navarro College on a scholarship.
At one point she cried, but so did Navarro Coach McBrearty, who is ecstatic about bring Braziel to Navarro’s nationally-ranked volleyball program.
“She has more heart than any player I’m recruiting,” McBrearty said. She turned to Braziel and said: “Your heart and the passion you have for the game and your love and desire passion have set you apart. Your teammates are lucky to have played with someone with as much passion and heart.”
Braziel is one of those players who will run through a wall for her team, and she has spent a career at Corsicana proving it by hitting the floor every night with a full-speed-ahead, no-quit desire that made her the best Libero in this part of the state not once but twice.
Braziel, a first-team All-District 16-5A Libero, was named the Golden Circle Libero of the Year her junior and senior years at Corsicana, where she helped turn the program around.
“She’s really going to be missed,” said Grace. Who took over the volleyball program three years ago and turned the Tigers into a force on the court. Braziel was a big part of that turnaround, and is almost a microcosm of the team and program that simply got better and better every year.
“To see how much she improved in high school, I can’t wait to see her at the next level,” Grace said of Braziel. “I’m excited and proud of her. Her hard work and dedication has paid off. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her at Navarro.”
It’s been a long road for Braziel, who played everything growing up — softball, basketball and track. After all, her father, Wayne who was all smiles along with his wife and Teleia’s mother Tammie, on Wednesday, is Corsicana’s boys track & field coach and an assistant football coach for the Tigers.
“She played everything when she was a kid,” Wayne said. “But about her sophomore year she started concentrating on volleyball.”
Teleia started playing volleyball in sixth grade, but three years ago everything seemed to click.
“I connected to the sport more my sophomore year,” she said. “That’s when I really fell in love with it. That’s when I decided I didn’t want to stop playing after high school.”
Braziel had other schools interested in her, including Texas A&M at Commerce and Paris College, but her first and only choice was Navarro.
“It’s perfect,” she said. “I wanted to stay close to home, and I love Kasey as a coach. She’s awesome. I feel like I will really have a great time there. I’m excited about playing for Navarro.”
Braziel, who has a 3.5 GPA, plans on going into nursing.
She had a remarkable career at Corsicana, where she finished her senior season by helping the Tigers win their first district title in 15 years. She had 463 digs, an .87 percent dig accuracy, 2.25 serve-receive rating, 36 assists and a .250 hitting average. She was a first-team District 16-5A Libero and two-time GC Libero of the Year, and three-time Golden Circle player. She brings the whole package to Navarro.
“She smiles,” McBrearty said. “Kids don’t smile any more. It’s a joy to see someone who really enjoys the game. She’s one of those players who brings the spirit of the game — she’s a spark.
“She’s a player people will be excited to see,” she said. “She’s a local kid, and the first local kid I’ve recruited. I’ve wanted local players, and now I have one. It’s a beautiful story to see her improve over the years and now she’s coming to a top 25 Division I junior college program in the nation. I’m excited to have her coming to Navarro.”
SOURCE: Corsicana Daily Sun