06/27/09 — Briggs, Norris will stay together, sign with MOC

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Briggs, Norris will stay together, sign with MOC

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 27, 2009 11:02 PM

Bridgette Briggs eyed a future in basketball.

Brooke Norris got accepted at North Carolina State and figured her days on the volleyball and basketball courts would become distant memories.

Not so fast.

The Wayne Country Day graduates used a little first-hand knowledge to re-evaluate their respective careers. And the information undoubtedly swayed their decisions.

Members of the WAVE 18-Under volleyball team, Briggs and Norris constantly heard about the Mount Olive College program through head coach Colby Mangum and assistant coach Kari Ham. Mangum was a record-setting blocker for the Trojans and Ham just graduated after leading MOC to an appearance in the Conference Carolinas tournament final last fall.

They listened.

And now they're headed to MOC after recently signing with the perennial Division II power.

"I've wanted to go to N.C. State all my life and I had not thought about Mount Olive because I wanted to get away from home," said Norris. "Colby started talking about the program and said that I could play at Mount Olive. It's a small school and I decided at the end of travel season that I did want to play close to home.

"I love it too much not to play again."

While Mangum and Ham certainly impressed Briggs, the all-state performer had a little extra motivation from older brother Spenser. Currently overseas on a mission, Spenser played on Barton's national championship basketball team in 2007.

"It was really exciting to see him play for a national championship," said Bridgette. "It showed me that working hard pays off and that something really good happens from it. At the college level, you have to work hard ... pretty everything into it.

"A friend gave me a speech about putting everything into it. And it's a great opportunity for me because I didn't play volleyball but one year."

But what a great year Norris and Briggs had as teammates. The duo guided the Chargers to a final four appearance in the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association 1-A volleyball playoffs. Less than five months later, they helped WCDS claim its first-ever women's basketball state title.

Norris wasn't done. During the spring, she played forward on the women's soccer team which reached the NCISAA final four.

"Amazing," said Norris.

MOC head coach Cole Tallman has specific duties for the incoming freshmen. Briggs will move to the right side, while Norris will play either back-up setter or libero. She prefers the latter.

"I am really excited about the defensive specialist spot because it's something different," said the 5-foot-7 Norris. "From the back, you can see everything that is happening and be a rudder for the team ... help direct the offense to find open spots (on the court).

"But I know I'm going to have to fight for any position because it's going to be really competitive. I'm not nervous, but am anxious to learn the pace of the college game."

Mount Olive finished 19-17 overall last season.