Sports

April 30, 2013

Prep Volleyball: Bickford first in program to earn athletic scholarship

To hear North Murray High School senior Machaela Bickford talk, you wouldn’t think she was a very good volleyball player.

“I need to work on my timing, on my service and when I pass the ball,” Bickford said. “I will work on my foot placement, my timing on hitting and blocking and the way I hit when I strike with my fist.”

But that just shows her desire to become a more complete player, and she will have a chance to do that at the next level after signing an athletic scholarship with Andrew College on Monday. The school — a Division I member of the National Junior College Athletic Association and Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association — is in Cuthbert, in between Columbus and Albany. The Lady Fighting Tigers, who began competition in 2010, are coached by Edith Smith.

North Murray volleyball coach Connie Hudgins said Bickford is the first player from her program, which began competition in 2009, to be awarded an athletic scholarship.

“She really thrived on getting better,” Hudgins said. “She knew that one game if she messed up, she was working on that before the next game in practice. She didn’t like making mistakes and is always looking to get better.”

At 5 feet, 3 inches, Bickford isn’t a prototypical middle hitter, but she played that position for the Lady Mountaineers.

“She was the shortest, but she had the highest vertical (jump) of any of our players,” Hudgins said. “She had some challenges playing against 6-footers. I know she doesn’t look like a front line player, but playing there made her that much better.”

Bickford is looking forward to taking those experiences to Andrew.

“All of the things that I have learned from my coaches and teammates will help me succeed in college,” Bickford said. “I am very happy and very excited. When I went there and talked to the coach, she told me I had good control of the ball and would be a key player for the team.”

Hudgins is confident Bickford will adapt well to the college game.

“The Andrew coaches have mentioned using her as a middle hitter,” Hudgins said.

“She will not have that much adjusting. She has good control passing the ball, and we used her all the way around the court. She can handle every position. She will not have any trouble getting going.”

Bickford, who is interested in studying nursing, said she was surprised when she was contacted by Andrew officials. Her visit there convinced her it is a good fit.

“I got an email from them and went on their website and looked at their academics and the campus life there,” she said. “I went on a visit and went through their campus. Their curriculum interested me.”

At North Murray, Bickford has already taken pre-nursing classes and plans to get her bachelor’s degree from a four-year program. She also hopes volleyball will be in her future when she’s done at Andrew.

“Absolutely I want to go on to another school and continue playing volleyball,” she said.

Bickford also played for the North Georgia Rage, a travel club. She was a varsity starter her final two years at North Murray, and this past season she helped the Lady Mountaineers go 17-14, finish third in Area 5-3A and reach the state tournament for the first time in program history. North Murray beat Jackson in the opening round of the Class 3A state tournament before losing to eventual semifinalist Woodward Academy.

“She has improved so much over the last two years,” Hudgins said. “For her to earn a scholarship is a great accomplishment. She is just a joy to coach. I have enjoyed every year that I have been with her. She is just a great all-around person.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SE fball conditioning 1 mlh.jpg Prep football: Raiders enter preseason hoping for breakthrough

    Entering his third year as Southeast Whitfield High School’s football coach, Sean Gray believes the last obstacle is belief.
    He believes this group of Raiders has that quality.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Devin Golden: Other sports start practice this week

    Football isn’t the only high school sport during the fall — and the others are joining in this week.

    July 28, 2014

  • Three locals on NW team in state golf event

    Three local golfers — Hardin Chambless, Tori Owens and Landon Painter — played Sunday in round one of the Junior Sectional Challenge Match.

    July 28, 2014

  • DHS fball condition#1C0E6F8.jpg Prep football: Dalton enters camp well ahead of learning curve

    The joke came quick to the lips of Dalton High School football coach Matt Land when asked how the opening day of conditioning for the Catamounts went on Friday.
    “We can quit and go home,” Land said. “They have it all figured out.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan.jpg Making a trip into town

    Frank Thomas was always driven to excel, and that sure served him well.
    “I was never that blue-chip prospect,” he said. “I had to outwork my opponents.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan2.jpg Chris Whitfield: Memories stay with us, and go with them

    I still remember the pandemonium that broke out in the dorm at Middle Georgia College in tiny Cochran, Ga., the night of “The Slide” in the 1992 National League Championship Series. It was a fire drill, wall street-buying frenzy and a Roman toga party all in one.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deshawn Ruffin Sign#1C0E79A.jpg Dalton State College signs PG from Florida

    Dalton State College announced signing a Jacksonville, Fla., prep basketball standout to its men’s basketball team.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • DHS vs RHS fball xtra 7 mlh.jpg Totally focused on fútbol

    In order to chase his soccer dream and continue to mature and improve in the sport that he loves so much, Dalton High School athlete Eder Mora has decided to make a sacrifice — giving up football.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Whitfield, Chris.JPG Chris Whitfield: Football fans may lose, but Mora will win with decision

    Throughout my career, I have been lucky enough to see some of the finest athletes this state has ever produced. From professional athletes who went on to the NFL, MLB and the NBA to college washouts who still rank as the finest high school athletes I have ever seen, I have been blessed.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • CHS fball conditioning 6 mlh.jpg Christian Heritage enters camp with many questions to answer

    In the first day of conditioning for local high school football teams, Christian Heritage coach Preston Poag didn’t decide any of the position battles that his team faces this year after losing a strong senior class.
    But there will be plenty of those battles to come.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

Devin Golden's sports updates
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp