Hannibal High School senior Claire Thomas smiles Wednesday after signing a letter of intent to attend Metropolitan Community College in Lee's Summit, Mo., where she will play volleyball. Seated with her are her parents, Becky and Joe Thomas. DANNY HENLEY/COURIER-POST
Claire Thomas became the latest Hannibal High School athlete to announce their college choice. On Wednesday the volleyball standout signed a national letter of intent to attend Metropolitan Community College in Lee's Summit.
"Metropolitan has really won the jackpot with this one," said Hannibal Coach Kelsey Whitley. "Claire Thomas is an asset to any program. She was a huge middle (hitter/blocker) for us, but she can play anything - outside or right side. She is a good kid and a good scholar."
Claire Thomas, the daughter of Joe and Becky Thomas, feels good about her college selection.
"I was just looking for a school that would keep my best interests academically as well as still allow me to play athletics," she said.
Whitley believes that starting off at a community college will benefit Thomas.
"I think this is a good spot for her," the HHS coach said. "I think they will develop her as a player so if she does decide to go to a four-year after the juco experience she will have had two years at a good juco."
While capable of playing other positions Thomas doesn't believe a change will be required.
"When I went and tried out the coach told me specifically he would want me to be very much focused on that (middle) position," she said.
Although comfortable with her volleyball skills, Thomas is quick to say there will always be things she can work on.
"Even when I feel I'm at my best I can always continue to get faster and swing harder," she said.
Regarding her time as a Lady Pirate, Thomas said her favorite part was making friendships with her teammates.