The Athens Review
For any high school athlete that dreams of playing collegiate athletics, one goal always comes to mind: Signing their college letter of intent.
For Mabank senior Savannah Henderson, that dream became a reality Wednesday during national signing day.
Henderson signed her letter to play soccer for the Texas A&M-Commerce Lady Lions out of the Lone Star Conference.
“This is a great day and to find out where you are going you now have the hard part out of the way,” Henderson said. “It is great to be with a team that you know is going to like you and that you fit in and will gel well with them.”
Mabank Athletic Director and head football coach Jared Wingfield said Henderson signing was big for the Lady Panthers soccer program.
“I think anytime a student athlete lives the dream of being a collegiate athlete it is very special especially for the family and the kids that she plays with and the whole athletic department.”
Henderson has had another strong season with 33 goals during the first half of their season.
She said one of the main attractions to the college came from the size of the town.
“It is a great place and I have never been in a huge place before,” Henderson said. “Going to a small town and a small college is big enough to have all the benefits that you need but small enough for almost everyone. Everyone is there for each other and I have always liked that lifestyle.”
Coach Jeffrey Downs said kids have seen her determination on the field and this helps her teammates strive for success.
“She has been a leader from day one since she got here, and she has been a great kid on and off of the field,” Downs said. “The kids respect her and I have seventh grade kids coming up to me and saying, “I want to work with Savannah” and the kids are proud of this. She has worked hard and she deserves all of achievements that she is getting.”
Wingfield said he expects to see a determined work ethic from Henderson once she reaches the the collegiate ranks.
“Anytime you jump from high school to collegiate athletics, you are going to be playing with kids to the same ability that you are. It is really going to be how she continues to work and improve her skills then I totally believe she will make up the gap of kids that are better than her.”
Henderson said with this being her senior year, she wants to leave her mark on the program to help younger players become successful on the soccer pitch.
“It is my senior year and teams that thrive do that with leadership,” Henderson said. “We really have to leave a legacy, not just myself but all of the other seniors since we are not going to be here next year.”