MAYPEARL — With a single stroke of her pen, Casie Weatherford inked the first step of her journey to Bethany, Oklahoma.

In front of friends, family and educators, Casie signed her National Letter of Intent to play volleyball at Southern Christian University on Friday at Maypearl High School.

She said having the chance to bond with her teammates during her college visit locked her into the decision to make SCU and Bethany her new home.

“Playing volleyball in college is something Casie’s wanted to do since

her brother Austin left to play football at the University of New Mexico,” her mother Tina Weatherford said. “It’s a goal she set for herself and today she accomplished it. We gave her an opportunity to go to college and so did SCU. It’s up to her what she does with it now.”

Weatherford, who holds a 3.3 GPA, will receive a partial athletics and academic scholarships that will pay for 100 percent of her college tuition.

Though Casie was named the Texas Sports Writers All-State Libero in 2015 and the district’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, her academic accomplishments should be weighed as heavily as her athletic ones.

She was also named to the academic all-district teams the last two years and to the academic all-state team this season.

That combination of academic excellence and athletic dedication was exactly what drew Kristen Coventon, the Lady Eagles head volleyball coach, and SCU to Maypearl’s resident volleyball star.

“I watched Casie play a couple of times in Denver when she was playing on an older club team,” Coventon said. “She didn’t falter. She commands the floor and wasn’t intimidated. Volleyball-wise, I believe she has a great opportunity to make a big impact immediately. We have some upperclassmen at her position, but I’m not about what class you’re in, I’m about who’s going to work harder.”

Coventon said Casie’s work ethic should carry over to the classroom environment, too. The Lady Eagles had a team average GPA of 3.75, much higher than the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics average of 2.9.

Despite her excitement to start her new life as a proud Lady Eagle and aspiring college graduate in the big city of Bethany, Casie said she will miss her little home of Maypearl.

“Except for vacations and visits, I’ve always been here. I’ve never been the new kid,” she said. “I’m not going to know anybody there. It’s not like Maypearl where you see somebody and can say ‘hey I know you.’ It’s the small-town atmosphere that I’ll miss the most.”