Rewriting history: Leonard breaks GAC all-time assists record

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, September 29, 2018
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New Record

NEW RECORD – Decatur alum Stormi Leonard broke the Great American Conference all-time assists record Tuesday against Austin College. Leonard passed Southeastern Oklahoma State’s Alissa Benson’s mark of 4,142 assists. Photo by Alex Blankenship

Decatur alum and two-time state champion Stormi Leonard is rewriting the record books once again.

The Decatur record-holder for assists with 3,955 is now the Great American Conference all-time assists leader.

The Ouachita Baptist University senior Tuesday against Austin College surpassed Southeastern Oklahoma State’s Alissa Benson’s mark of 4,142 assists to become the conference’s career assists leader.

“It feels unreal, honestly,” Leonard said. “I never thought I’d hold any record when I went to college, except maybe early classes missed or something. It is more of a record that my teammates hold with me because I couldn’t get any assists, if they didn’t put the ball away. I’ve been blessed at Ouachita with awesome coaches and teammates that have contributed to this record.”

During her tenure with the Lady Eagles, the setter helped lead Decatur to back-to-back state titles in 2013 and 2014. In her senior season, Leonard dished out 1,433 assists to go along with 91 kills, 53 aces, 455 digs and 34 blocks.

She was named the 2014 1A-4A Athlete of the Year by the Texas Girls Coaches Association, Player of the Year by the Texas Sportswriters Association and Wise County MVP.

“Decatur volleyball instilled so much passion and drive for the game that I was able to come in [to Ouachita] and was given a chance to play immediately,” Leonard said. “Coach [Claire] Gay had such an impact on the player I was when I graduated. I owe a lot to her. I never imagined that some of the success we had at Decatur during my varsity career would follow me to Ouachita.”

Leonard credited Gay as one of the role models that helped shape her career.

“She helped me a lot. She was a setter. She wasn’t always easy on me,” Leonard said. “But she made me mentally stronger and prepared me for college. Luckily, I was able to prove myself as a freshman and kept my spot.”

Always ready to hand out assists, Leonard thanked her teammates that helped her break the record.

“This honor means a lot to me because it’s a team effort,” Leonard said. “Assists take into account how well the defense works and also gets the hitters involved with getting kills. It pretty much sums up the game and is such an honor to know that [I will] be in the history of the conference.”

Ouchita Baptist has 11 matches before the postseason. The setter thinks she can add 400 to 500 more assists to the mark.

Leonard admitted she shed a few tears when she reached the milestone, knowing she is nearing the end of her college career. She is unsure if she will pursue other playing opportunities, coach or start a career in business or public relations.

“That’s what stinks is after high school when you graduate, you have college to look forward to,” Leonard said. “I’d love to play overseas professionally, but that’s a lot smaller network.

“I plan on riding the wave until I can’t play anymore.”

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