By Melica Allen
ADDISON - Savannah Manley is definitely a champion. She has played on three state championship volleyball teams - 2016-2018 and state runner-up this past 2019 season at Addison High School.
The 6’1” senior will now play at the next level this fall, signing a volleyball scholarship with Gadsden State, who finished 26-12 this past season with a trip to the nationals.
Her scholarship signing ceremony was held Friday, Jan. 10, in the AHS library.
Savannah commented, “I’m really excited about playing at Gadsden State. At the same time, I am also a little nervous. It is a whole different level, but I think I am ready for it.”
Savannah said she probably will play middle or right side. “I’m not really sure what position I will play. Coach (Connie) Clark will decide whatever is best for the team,” she explained. “I’ve known Coach Clark for a while and really like her. I went this past summer for a recruitment camp and really liked the girls. I also have friends who are already playing on the team. The school was really nice. It felt like home to me.”
When Savannah was not playing for the Lady Bulldogs, she was continuing to develop her skills with travel teams. She played for Smith Lake and Netforce.
Savannah said she appreciates her time at Addison and it has helped her develop her skills as a volleyball player.
“There are so many people who have been an important part of my life,” she said. “My parents and family, of course. My coaches have driven me to be the best I can. They have meant so much to me. My teammates and friends, I can’t say thank you enough.”
Savannah has been very active at AHS in other things than sports, as well. She is a member of the Key Club, BETA and DECA.
Savannah has had the privilege of playing volleyball with her sister, Gracie. “She always teases me because she got moved up as an eighth grader,” Savannah laughed. “But I have enjoyed my time with her on the team. I am going to miss her.
“I want the team to never get discouraged,” she said about next year’s AHS team. “Coming from state in 2018 and winning the championship, people were asking us about 2019 because we lost a lot of seniors. All you can do is put the work in and play your best. That is what I want for them and the outcome will be there.”
AHS head volleyball coach Kayla Woodard Smith commented about Savannah, “She has been with us for a long time. We started out with her as a baby. She started coming to practice with the varsity in the eighth grade and she moved up early.
“It has been really neat to see her grow, not only as a player, but as a young lady. It has been fun. She has been with us the longest and we are going to miss her. She has been a great asset to our program for a long, long time. She has always stepped up to the challenge.
“She is super sweet and always good about making you feel good as a coach. Savannah was a leader for the team, who worked well as a team player.”
Manley had 425 kills in her career, 228 blocks, 76 digs and 91 aces. Her senior honors include North-South All-Star game participant; County MVP, All-State Tournament Team member.
She will major in business at Gadsden State.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.