Summer SUU Commit Drange Helps Champion Navigate UIL Restart

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It's been a big summer for Boerne Champion rising junior Marissa Drange. It started with a moment that confirmed the 2022 volleyball recruit's goal of earning a college athletic opportunity.

"The call I received on June 15th was life changing," said Drange.

That was preceded by an invite to a Southern Utah University volleyball camp in January 2019. She attended the event in Cedar City, where she met and worked with coaches Pete Hoyer and Lorelle Hoyer.

"I just felt an instant connection," said Drange. "When Coach Pete offered me a full scholarship to play for the Thunderbirds, I was overcome with joy. It has been my dream to play in college."

"Choosing to continue my academics and volleyball pursuits at SUU was first and foremost based on the fact that I would be playing for two of the best coaches around," she continued. "The passion and enthusiasm they have for their program and the athletes is seen in everything they do. It feels like being part of a truly special family. They believe in me and show their enthusiasm for what I can offer their program. All of this is in addition to the beautiful SUU campus set in the backdrop of one of the most amazing places I've seen. I cannot wait to step on the court as a Thunderbird and represent SUU in the Big Sky Conference."

Then, she got recognition for leading the 2020 VYPE San Antonio Preseason Outside Hitter of the Year Poll with 38.02% of the total vote.

"It felt amazing to receive so much support in ultimately winning the poll," said Drange. "I was blown away with the outpouring from the Boerne community, my teammates, classmates and family. I was incredibly grateful and humbled to have been named along with the other nominees, who are tremendous volleyball athletes at their respective schools."

A few days later, Drange and the rest of Texas received the University Interscholastic League's updated plan for the 2020 high school fall sports and extracurricular schedule. She and her Boerne Champion volleyball team are still on track for a fall sports season in UIL 5A, but their first practice and match have been pushed back to September 7th and September 14th at the earliest, instead of the normal August start.

"When I heard the news that UIL released, I was incredibly relieved and excited that we would still get to have a volleyball season," said Drange. "I was concerned that the season may be cancelled altogether, so this delay is not a big deal."

The change to the 2020 schedule will affect the team's early matches, including an early tournament in West Texas, but don't expect that to change the goals that Boerne Champion and Drange have set for themselves.

"I will miss our annual team trip to compete at the Bev Ball Classic in Abilene," said Drange. "The City of Abilene always treats us so well and the competition early on has helped us start fast. Due to missing this and other preseason tournaments, I expect the start of our season to be a little rough because of the lack of practice and game time together."

"Our goal remains the same as it always is: continue our deep playoff runs and ultimately win the 5A state title," she continued. "I love my teammates and want to do whatever I can to help contribute to our team's success. During these recent times of uncertainty, I am reminded to try and enjoy each moment."

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