HUNTINGTON – Gracie Brumfield knew she wanted to play college volleyball, but not where.
The Cabell Midland High School senior first-team all-stater said she prayed for God to lead her to a school. He didn’t take her far, as Brumfield signed Thursday to play at Marshall University. She chose the Thundering Herd over offers from Marietta College and several NCAA Division II programs in West Virginia.
“I was discouraged for a while,” said Brumfield, who plans to major in nursing. “I prayed on it and meditated about it and everything kept coming back to Marshall. God led me to Marshall and I’m excited to go work hard and do my best.”
An outside hitter and defensive specialist who led the Knights to a Region IV championship and runner-up finish in Class AAA in the state tournament, Brumfield said she will be a defensive specialist with the Thundering Herd.
“I know a lot of the girls there,” Brumfield said “They helped with my travel team (West Virginia Thunder). I’ve practiced in Gullickson Hall since seventh grade, so I’m familiar with that.”
Several members of Brumfield’s family graduated from Marshall. Her aunt, Jeanne (Noble) Lunsford starred for the Herd softball team and is a member of the school’s athletic Hall of Fame.
Cabell Midland volleyball coach Julie Brumfield, Gracie’s mother, said Marshall is getting a hard-working player.
“When Gracie started playing when she was little she had a love for the game,” coach Brumfield said. “She’s very dedicated and hard-working. She’s a great teammate and a leader on and off the court.”
Coach Brumfield said coaching Gracie was a blessing.
“It’s very hard to coach your own child,” she said. “It’s hard on the coach and it’s harder on the child. I was harder on her than anyone else on the team. We’re blessed that Marshall gave her an opportunity.”
Brumfield was a first-team All-Mountain State Athletic Conference selection as a sophomore, junior and senior. She made second team all-state as a junior and first team as a senior.
Active in her youth group at Beulah Ann Baptist Church in Ona, Brumfield also participates in Young Life and played softball for the Knights until giving it up to concentrate on volleyball after her sophomore season.
Cabell Midland athletic director and track coach Chris Parsons raved about Brumfield.
“I tried to get her to run track this year,” Parsons said. “That’s how much I think of her.”
Brumfield signed in the school’s library as several dozen people looked on. Many of those onlookers were seniors who attended the ceremony even though their final day of school was Wednesday.