Mary Grace Moore takes long road to get to Wayland

Zach Crook

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the pound,” is how a song written in honor of WBU volleyball player, and sophomore, Mary Grace Moore begins.

The song, written by “Tru Kru” President Ryan Rayburn, is a tribute to the sheer power and velocity that accompanies every spike by Moore, an outside hitter from La Porte, TX.

Mary Grace is a social study composite major that hopes to teach those subjects in high school, along with coaching volleyball, and eventually go into the ministry at some point in time. Along with those bits of information, it should be noted that she also has one of the deadliest spikes in the Sooner Athletic Conference.

With a presence and spiking ability that makes opponents cringe, many would think that Moore has been playing her position for many years. However, she just learned her current position last year. In fact, Moore didn’t even think that she would be playing volleyball in college at all.

When she walked off the court at the end of her senior year, there were no tears and no emotion. In her own words, she had a “really bad senior season,” and she thought she was never going to play volleyball again. Instead, she thought she would make it to college on a track scholarship.

She had originally heard of Wayland not through volleyball, but because her track coach knew the track coaches at WBU. However, at that time, she decided not to run track at WBU.

Luckily, for both herself and for Wayland, her athletic ability and volleyball skill attracted the attention of at least one person. And that person, being the head volleyball coach at a NCAA Division I school, the University of Houston, happened to have a lot of leeway in her collegiate decisions.

He told Mary Grace that God had given her a lot of natural athletic ability and he didn’t want to see her put it to waste.

Well, she had never played club volleyball and had endured multiple injuries throughout high school so she wasn’t sure if she had the passion or the will to play Division I volleyball.

She did take his words to heart, and decided to try playing volleyball at a junior college for a year and see what happened. Then, if she wanted, he said that she could come play for the U of H the following year.

She received a scholarship and a spot on San Jacinto Junior College’s team and had what she described as a “wonderful” year at San Jac. The coach there taught her a new position, outside hitter (she had played middle blocker in high school) and she learned just the fundamentals of how to play volleyball right.

Even after a great year at the junior college-level, Moore didn’t want her whole life to revolve around the game and decided that she didn’t want to play Division I.

For some reason, Mary Grace remembered Wayland because of track her senior year, and decided to send Coach Turpin a video and see if she was interested. Turpin invited her down for a visit and tryout.

Moore impressed Turpin enough in her tryout that she was invited to join the team.

“I never thought I would end up here (at Wayland),” Moore said. “But the more I am here, the more I feel like God led me here.”

Moore is very excited about playing volleyball here at Wayland. She credits her teammates for helping ignite that fire and for always keeping her at the top of her game.

When she thinks about the team, she said, “I think of a group of girls who really feel like we have something to prove, to both ourselves and the school.

“We are working hard to gain respect from everyone,” she added.

The Pioneers, with a current record of 12-9, are on pace to finish with a winning record and gaining that respect that they desire.

Moore, who is second on the team with 183 kills and third on the team with 51 blocks, is trying to do her fair share of contributions for the team.

Mary Grace knows that the team can’t let up. They are currently 1-1 in conference play, and the most important part of the season is now beginning. She says that she often times looks to her teammates to give her the drive to keep going.

“I look to the seniors for inspiration because they’re encouraging and they lead by example,” Moore said. “They care for you and guide you both on and off the court.”

Also, she thinks fan support is another key element for the team.

“We love it when people come to our games,” she said. “It's fun to see the signs fans bring to the games and their support gets us excited about playing.”

However, more so than crowd support, or even teammates, Mary Grace keeps her eyes heaven bound when it comes to her main support.

So it should be no surprise when she says the best thing about being at Wayland is her knowing that “this is where God wants me to be.”