Story and Photo by Denis House, Sentinel-Echo
LONDON, Ky. - On March 29, 2016, Savannah Baxter tore her ACL, a devastating injury which wiped out all but two games of her senior season of volleyball at South Laurel. It also put some doubt into her chances of playing in college.
Fast forward exactly one year to March 29, 2017, where Baxter, in front of family, friends and teammates at South Laurel, signed her letter of intent to play at Union College.
"I didn't give up," Baxter said. "I'm a very determined person and I don't give up easily. I worked out hard to get back (from my injury)."
She admits that, at one point, she wasn't sure she would ever play again.
"I went through a phase where I thought I'd never touch a ball again," Baxter said. "I had people tell me even if I did come back I wouldn't be the same player I was before. I know I can be the same if not better."
Prior to her injury, she had interest from Spalding University in Louisville. But that interest faded when her tore her ACL. Spalding's loss became Union's gain.
"Our conference player of the year (Union's Rachel Andrews) last season had two ACL injuries and came back from those," Union coach Jeremy Wise said. "We've got a top-notch training staff that will get her back to where she was."
"It was an honor to coach her here at South Laurel," South coach Mitzi Jones said. "Her work ethic and competitiveness is the best I've ever seen, hands down. Her future is bright."
Baxter has played volleyball for 10 years and said she lives for the competitiveness of it.
"I'm the most competitive person," Baxter said. "I can't handle losing." She added that she has been working out every day to try and get in the best shape she can to be ready to play at the next level.
"Right now I am working on getting my vertical back, building my quad muscle," Baxter said.
Wise said he first saw her play a couple of years ago and was interested in signing her since.
"She had good power and was very intense," Wise said. "Our trainers will work with her to make sure she is ready when we need her to be."
"I want to thank God, my family, friends, teammates and coaches who helped me get through these past four years and especially the past year," Baxter said.
Story originally published in the Sentinel-Echo.