Tournament Date: (03/31/2018)
Divisions(11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18 - Combined)
Lauren was the kind of person that you would hear before you would see. She seemed never to meet a stranger. She was everybody’s friend. At nearly every track meet, volleyball game or activity that she participated in, she would introduce her “new” friend. If you asked someone in the volleyball world they either knew Lauren or knew someone who did.
Lauren was born in Michigan where she participated in soccer, tae kwon do and dance. She and her family moved to Missouri in 2000. They lived in Nixa for 1 year then moved to Stockton when she was in 6th grade.
At Stockton High School Lauren was a successful athlete in volleyball and track earning all-Conference and all-District volleyball honors her sophomore year. As a starter on the varsity, Lauren and the Lady Tigers won the MLC title and made it to the State Quarterfinals. In track she qualified for state in the 400m, 800m and 1600m relays her freshman and sophomore years. At the state meet, her relay teams missed out on all-State honors by .001 of a second both years they participated. Lauren broke the school record in the 100m hurdles as a freshman, but only held that record for one year. She was also the vice-president of the Students Aware program. Volleyball however was her passion! She loved to play it and played it often. Even as a 4 year old in Michigan, she would attend her dad’s college practices and pepper with him when she had the chance. Lauren played for Club Bear on the 12’s team at ages 10 and 11; 14’s at age 12; 15’s at age 13 and 17’s at ages 14 and 15. She played club to sharpen her skills. Lauren would always play hard and had fun doing it!
August 2007 The “injury”
After completing the club season, the Stockton Lady Tigers were hungry to avenge their quarterfinal lost in the 2006 season. Lauren had worked hard to better her skills and had developed a very tough top spin jump serve. The first match of the season was on a Monday versus Bolivar. That night they played in the 1st ever 3 out of 5 match in Southwest Missouri. The Lady Tigers won 3-0. Lauren had 4 kills, 8 digs and 2 aces. Tuesday night the Lady Tigers traveled to Parkview. After 2 sets Stockton and Parkview were tied. In the third set, Stockton had pulled ahead 15-12 and Lauren was going back to serve. She made her toss, jumped and served an Ace to the left back player. Next serve she jumped serving another Ace, this time to the right side. As we were cheering we looked back and saw Lauren lay on the floor holding her right knee. She tore her ACL on the landing of her jump serve. Out for the season, her dream of playing on a state championship team was all but gone. Being the person that Lauren was she became the #1 cheerleader for her teammates.
November 2007 “The Jersey”
Lauren wore jersey #2. After her injury she, unselfishly gave her jersey to another player to wear because her jersey was too big for her. When Lauren was able to dress again with the team, she wore #15, the largest jersey that there was. She tucked it in the best she could and continued to cheer her teammates on all the way to the 2007 Class 2 State title! Two days later she celebrated her 16th birthday.
November 25, 2007 “Lauren’s Day”
It was the first Sunday after Thanksgiving. Lauren got herself up and ready for church at the Stockton Church of Christ. She was baptized at age 9 and enjoyed attending worship services. In her bible class that morning, her teacher asked her, “How would you describe yourself?” She could have given a variety of responses like: cheerful, athletic, LOUD, friendly. But instead she responded with, “I’m a Christian.” After services she went to pick up a friend from Ash Grove in Greenfield and bring him to the house to decorate the Christmas tree. She, her friend and Mom all had a wonderful time together and the tree was beautiful. Lauren dropped her friend off in Greenfield and was headed back home when about 15 miles from home, she for no known reason, did not take the curve on the road and ran into a tree on the side of the road which resulted in fatal injuries. Lauren became an Angel at that moment!
A memorial fund has been set up in her name and donations are used to help promote volleyball in the Southwest Missouri area. Her father, her coach, keeping his promise to her, continues to coach and conduct volleyball clinics. At the time of Lauren’s death she was 16 years and 20 days old. In honor of Lauren, the clinic is named 16-20 Volleyball Lauren’s Academy. Lauren’s favorite color, yellow, fit her personality. Bright, cheery, happy, puts you in a better mood and LOUD. Lauren had a unique outlook on life as a 16 year old. She would want all who play volleyball to play like she did: “Play hard, Have Fun!”