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Photo from Layla Diaz's parents.
By VYPE Media's Amanda Lattimer
Layla Diaz, a junior at San Marcos High School, is truly a triple threat and a key player on the volleyball team. She has been around the sport since before she could walk. With her mom constantly practicing on the court when she was in college, Layla was always somewhere with a volleyball in hand.
At 13 years old, Diaz upgraded from practicing at the rec to joining a club team. Now in high school, the athlete spends almost all of her free time playing sports. Not only is she involved in volleyball, but she also plays softball and runs track.
The time commitment doesn't faze Diaz because each sport is a piece of her. With volleyball, she's at home. And once she's on the softball field, everything is aggressive and faster paced. When she hits the track, the adrenaline rush of competing against yourself keeps her coming back for more.
"I just don't think that I can picture my life without either one of these sports in it," said Diaz. "I mean, I could try, but I wouldn't be as happy."
As far as volleyball goes, Diaz is really hoping to stick with her goal of leading her team in the most kills, which she's currently doing with 313, but needs to keep it up. With the seniors being super competitive, Diaz said she has to work hard all the time in order to complete that goal.
Ever since Diaz was a freshman, the seniors have always been a key part of her volleyball career. She said they have given her knowledge and tips on what to do before and after each game, as well as insight on everything they have been through. Coach Nichols, one of Diaz's volleyball coaches, is another woman that has continued to push Diaz to be the best she can be.
"She has been the hardest on me and always has pushed through to me," Diaz said. "She finds ways to get through to me that no other coach could."
It's no secret that Diaz has a lot of compassion for her team. As a new upperclassman, Diaz explains what she wants underclassman to know while playing the court.
"It takes hard work and it takes time," Diaz said. "There are no breaks and no offseason. It is grind time all the time."
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Photo provided by Madison Glassco.
New Braunfels High School senior volleyball player Madison Glassco has committed to Colorado School of Mines to continue her athletic career at the next level, but has been through a lot of ups and downs to get to this point.
Glassco knew volleyball was her calling at a young age and was put into club volleyball in the sixth grade. The college commitment process can be very hectic and, just after two years of being serious with volleyball, colleges started to contact her.
Just as Glassco started her recruitment process, she had a step back when she tore her ACL in the beginning of eighth grade. It was a long recovery, but she stayed confident and motivated. Once her ACL healed, it was the beginning of her freshman season. She was finally getting back to her volleyball form when she tore two ligaments in her ankle towards the end of the year.
"My injuries just proved to me again how much I love the sport because having it taken away from you just shows you what it means," said Glassco.
When she was cleared to play, she moved up to varsity as a sophomore and has been fired up for the sport ever since. Ultimately, Colorado School of Mines caught her attention for its beauty and unique culture. She also likes that it's a smaller school and she's clicked well with the coaches and players.
Glassco said she is excited to play in a new setting and make tight bonds with the team, just like she has with her current New Braunfels team. The Unicorns started the second round of district play this week and Glassco hopes that she and her teammates can win the rest of their UIL 26-6A games by changing the team mindset to positivity and just having fun.
Being a senior on the team, Glassco is excited for her future, but will always remember playing in that blue uniform. The New Braunfels community has definitely left an impact on her.
"I am going to miss the feeling of knowing the whole city loves watching these games and the crowds and the whole school being there," said Glassco. "And also getting to play with my best friends that I've known my whole life."
Glassco also hopes that she can leave the underclassmen with a few reminders that have helped her in her high school career.
"I want to leave them with the mindset to not take anything for granted and that every game matters," said Glassco. "Also, to just have fun because you are playing this sport because you love it and also because you will never play with this group again."