Barnesville standout Rylee Stephens takes road trip with collegiate choice of Millsaps College
BARNESVILLE — Distance was not a huge consideration for Barnesville High senior Rylee Stephens when it came time to select a destination to continue her academic and athletic careers at the collegiate level.
Stephens, the daughter of Corey and Wendy Stephens of Barnesville settled on Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi to realize a lifelong dream of venturing out on her own with her collegiate choice.
Millsaps is a member of NCAA Division III, Southern Athletic Association. The Millsaps Majors compete in 18 intercollegiate sports: baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, and track and field for men; and basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball, and track and field for women.
"Going away to college was always a dream of mine," Stephens, who will play volleyball at Millsaps explained. "I love Ohio and I love my family, but I have always wanted to get away. I am pretty independent, so I think I will be fine so far away."
"I will definitely miss my dog, Oakley, the most, but I will also miss my family and friends," Stephens, who was a standout athlete in both volleyball and basketball for the Lady 'Rocks added. "Not having them at all my games to support me and cheer me on will be different, but I am excited for the change."
Other schools Stephens considered before opting for Millsaps were Castleton University, Piedmont College, the University of Dallas, and Slippery Rock University.
"I chose Millsaps for a lot of reasons. It was definitely a combination of both academics and athletics," They have a great academic program and the beautiful campus is surrounded by a lot of hospitals which will help me a lot. Also, I really liked the coaches and I believe I will be a part of a great family there."
During the 2020 volleyball season Stephens racked up 245 kills, 46 blocks, 173 points, 44 aces and 64 digs for Barnesville head volleyball coach Kimberly Jarrett.
"This was my 2nd year as head coach at Barnesville High School," Jarrett offered. "For the past two seasons, Rylee has led our varsity team in points, blocks, kills and aces. She has leadership and court awareness that we will definitely miss. We wish her the best for her career at Millsaps."
Stephens served as team captain last season for the Lady 'Rocks, and received numerous postseason honors including OVAC 3A All Conference 2019 and 2020, OVAC All Star Game 2020, 2020 District 12 Division III First Team, 2019 District 12 Division III Second Team, 2019-2020 OHSVCA Scholar Athlete, 2019 All Times Leader Team, 3-year Letterman.
Stephens feels comfortable with the Lady Majors volleyball program led by head coach Jaime Fisher, who has guided the Lady Majors since 2008.
"I feel like I will fit in great," Stephens stated. "I enjoy being down there and around the coaches. I have watched a lot of their stuff on Instagram and I don’t think I will have a problem fitting into the program or with the players. I haven’t met any of the players, but I feel very comfortable with the coaches"
"I think they have a great program down there and I know they would help me with anything I need while I am down there," the Barnesville senior added. "They run their team as a family, not just a team, and that is something important to me."
Stephens will be studying biology with hopes of becoming a Physical Therapist upon graduation.