By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON —
Claire Ryan has functioned like a coach on the basketball court the past several seasons for the Lady Rams.
Ryan, who has been the team's point guard the past two years, signed with Welch College in Nashville, Tenn. on Friday.
“She's one of my all-time favorites, and it just couldn't have happened to a nicer, more respectful kid than her,” Mt. Vernon girls basketball coach Jeff Lonnon said. “It's the type of thing you like to see happen to good people, and she's a good person.”
Ryan took over the point guard role two seasons ago from Cheyenne Piper. Ryan helped the Lady Rams win back-to-back South Seven Conference title. Two years ago the team hit the 20-year mark. Mt. Vernon followed that up with another winning season this year.
“She's as much responsible for us winning those two conference titles as anybody,” Lonnon said. “Because we did not have a true point guard in our program after Cheyenne Piper graduated. Ball handlers are very, very hard to find these days.”
Ryan said she embraced taking over the point guard role and playing the position the past two seasons for the Lady Rams.
“It was kind of nerve wracking because I felt like it was pretty big shoes to fill, but I was also confident and I was ready to take that role.”
Ryan added that she's enjoyed her career playing for the Lady Rams under coach Lonnon and claiming a pair of conference crowns.
“It was a really neat experience and seeing the team grow as a team,” Ryan said.
Welch College is located in Nashville, Tenn. And both of Ryan's parents Brad and Tommie Jo attended the college. Welch College coach Larry Bryan said he is pleased to have Ryan attending the school.
“It is obvious she has a lot of experience playing against quality competition, and that should make the transition to the college game much easier,” Bryan said.