By Spencer DuPuis
LoCoSports Staff Writer
*Update (11/17/2015): Briar Woods High School senior Lauren Twitty has officially signed her National Letter of Intent to play volleyball at the University of New Mexico.
Ashburn (August 12, 2015) — Briar Woods High School senior Lauren Twitty has made a commitment to play volleyball at the University of New Mexico starting in the 2016-2017 academic year.
“Committing was a huge relief because recruiting can be very demanding and stressful,” the 6-foot-2 Twitty said. “However, I thought it was good to wait and think about what I really want in a college. I think I really did find the right fit for me.”
Head coach Jeff Nelson – entering his ninth season at the helm of the Division I Lobo program – led New Mexico to a 19-12 record and a fourth place finish in the Mountain West Conference in their 2014 campaign.
“The volleyball team is very good as well, and I knew I was going to be pushed to my limits which is what I was looking for,” Twitty said. “I have a lot to learn as a future player, but I think I will be able to add intensity, energy and motivation to the team.”
Although volleyball is Twitty’s passion she wanted to make sure that the school she attended also had a good academic reputation.
“I chose UNM because I felt the school fit me as an athlete and a student,” the Atlanta-native said. “Academics come first, and their engineering and biomedical programs have a great reputation. Also, the amount of academic all-Americans was very high and that is one of my goals in college.”
The outside hitter – who plays her club volleyball for Virginia Elite – mentioned that she only started playing volleyball in seventh grade because she knew she would be over six feet tall.
“I ended up loving the sport because it requires a lot of strength and physical ability, but the mental aspect has really helped me grow as a person,” Twitty said. “I learned to play for my teammates instead of myself, and that’s a huge life lesson. Playing a sport really helps you manage your time wisely because you can’t procrastinate in school and then be able to practice your best every day. It [just]doesn’t work.”
Coming off a VHSL 5A state championship, Twitty has high hopes for herself in 2015 as she tries to add to her already impressive list of personal accomplishments:
- LoCoSports All-LoCo First Team
- Junior Volleyball Association All-American Watch List
- AAU Academic All American
- Junior Volleyball Association All National Team
- VA Elite Club Leadership Award
- PrepVolleyball High School All American Honorable Mention
- PrepVolleyball National Junior of the Year Finalist
- Washington Post All-Met First Team
- VHSL 5A All-State First Team
- VHSL 5A North All-Region First Team
- VHSL Conference 14 All-Conference First Team
- VHSL 5A Virginia State Champion
- VHSL 5A North Region Champion
- VHSL Conference 14 Champion
While Twitty’s list of personal accolades is soundproof, her overarching goal for her senior season is to help her Falcon teammates — including American commit Jasmine Ellison — win.
“My expectations are high for our Briar Woods team this year,” Twitty said. “Although we lost a lot of great players, we have a bunch of returners as well. Coaches Hermes and Otto are pushing us harder than ever, which is going to take us that much further. To win states again this year, we will need to work on our ability to play fluidly as a team. If we can mesh well on the court, we have a good chance at succeeding again this year.”
Briar Woods will start their season on the road in Alexandria against T.C. Woodson on August 27 at 7 p.m.