Seniors Campbell Gray and Gabby Brown signed to play at collegiate level


Kiwi Stainsby

Campbell Gray and Gabby Brown sign letters of intent on Nov. 14. Gray plans to attend UC Davis to play basketball and Brown will go to Reno-Nevada to play soccer.

By Maddie Cooke

     With heads in the game and hearts in the sport, seniors Campbell Gray and Gabby Brown signed on Nov. 14 to play their sports at a collegiate level.

     Gray, who has played basketball since she was four, signed to play for UC Davis as a point guard.

      “I think the time I put into basketball makes me different from most people who just play basketball,” Gray said. “I am excited and proud of everything I have accomplished, and I always felt like this was going to be the next step in my basketball career and to play at a collegiate level.”

     And after countless years of dedication to soccer, Brown has signed to play for University Nevada Reno.

     “When I decided to make soccer my main sport in fifth grade, that is when my drive to be this competitive and dedicated started, and it led me here,” Brown said. “Campbell and I already signed our papers for commitment this morning, but the signing at school was more of a celebration and time for us to take pictures with everyone.”

     Several friends, family and coaches gathered in the Small Gym to congratulate the girls and their success as student athletes and official signings. Among the many supporters, her club coach, Gary Lavender, was excited to see Gray sign for UC Davis and is confident in her ability to play at a higher level.

      “Of all the intelligent athletes that I’ve ever worked with, Campbell is by far one of the most talented and gifted people I know,” Lavender said. “I think she has chosen this school for many reasons, but I’m personally thrilled for its academics and the opportunities it will open up for her. It is an amazing school and I know Campbell will thrive in the environment and continue her success over there.”

     Gray’s basketball career has always been more than just the game; according to her mom, her experience working with Campbell will always be a learning moment and fond memory to her.

     “I didn’t expect to be so emotional, but I’m so proud of Campbell and she has worked so hard for this. All of it. Campbell is very intelligent and you can see that in the way she plays on the court,” Gray’s mom, Dawn Hoffman Gray said. “I’m just hoping that she continues to keep a strong work ethic and that she continues to have that drive to be the best. After working with her and watching her mature, I’ve learned that she is always wanting to get better and finding ways to improve.”

     Brown believes that her choice to attend University Nevada Reno is more than the right choice for her soccer career, and she was confident in her final decision.

     “Previously, I was planning on committing to another school, but things didn’t work out and that added a lot of stress to the decision of finding the right school,” Brown said. “My family has been there for me throughout my whole process of becoming a competitive athlete to applying for colleges and I’m thankful for them and their support.”

     Although Brown couldn’t be where she is without the support of her family and teammates, Gabby’s mom, knows that Gabby’s knowledge of the game has made her a unique and special player, both on and off the field.

     “Her recruiting experience was challenging, but we are so proud of her and we know that the coaches at University of Nevada Reno care about her and will help her fulfill her full potential,” Brown’s mom Bridgette Brown said. “Gabby always had an innate talent and I knew this when she was younger. I want her to know that she has accomplished so much. Even it feels hard, I hope she pushes through those difficult times with the best attitude possible and that she knows I’m always there.”

     Similarly, Duccio Tagliaferri, Brown’s coach, had the honor of working with and witnessing her talent in the game. Although he was a new coach and worked with Brown for only a few months, Tagliaferri is hoping that she continues to perform her best at University Nevada Reno and will stay true to herself.

     “One of my most memorable moments with Gabby was during the second half of a game where she scored the goals in only 2 1/2 minutes. That is unbelievable, and that normally doesn’t happen,” Tagliaferri said. “I’ve never seen that happen, in any level of soccer. Even in the short amount of time I had with her, I learned how fast she can improve and develop skills.”

     Overall, both girls are determined for the next chapter in their athletic careers.

     “I’m thankful for all of the support we’ve received and I’m ready to take on a new challenge,” Gray said.