A pair of Greeneville High School’s top senior athletes signed to continue their careers on Thursday afternoon in a ceremony in front of their friends, families and teammates.
Lady Devils’ volleyball standout Eden Aiken signed to join the Lady Senators at Walters State, and All-State soccer player Annemarie Konieczny signed to join Fighting Scots of Maryville College.
“It’s very exciting and fulfilling too to sign today, I’ve put in a lot of hard work over the last 10 years,” Aiken said.
Aiken helped the Lady Devils volleyball team advance to the state tournament as a sophomore and a senior. In her senior year she was named the District 2-AA Setter of the Year and the District 2-AA Tournament MVP. She led the team with 795 assists while adding 283 digs, 106 kills, 18 blocks and 66 aces while leading the Lady Devils to a top six finish in the state in Class AA.
During her time at Greeneville Aiken has been one of the team’s most versatile players, and she hopes that will help her with the Lady Senators. She is not sure what position she will play at Walters State but is going in planning to work at setter and defensive specialist.
“I just have to keep working throughout the offseason to compete at a higher level,” Aiken said. “In any sport being able to play multiple positions gives you a higher level of knowledge of the game. I think playing multiple roles at Greeneville will really help me.”
Aiken credited former Lady Devils and current Greeneville Middle School coach, Courtney Dotson, with her interest in Walters State. Dotson, a former setter at Greeneville, is someone who Aiken looked to as a role model, and after her time with the Lady Devils Dotson went on to play at Walters State as well.
Lady Senators assistant coach Erika Waycaster also coached Aiken’s club team in the offseason, and that relationship helped her quickly feel comfortable with Walters State.
Aiken plans to major in nursing and wants to go on to be a nurse practitioner.
“My dad has been a doctor throughout my whole life and I’ve always loved what he does,” Aiken said. “I’ve always wanted to work in the medical field.”
Konieczny has starred on the soccer field for the Lady Devils for four years, helping them to two state championships and two more state semifinals appearances. She was named All-State by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association as a junior. In her senior year Konieczny had 24 goals and nine assists. She was named the Region 1-AA MVP and District 1-AA Offensive Player of the Year.
“This has been the best four years ever. I’m really grateful to all of the people who have helped me along the way, and I’ll definitely miss it,” Konieczny said.
Konieczny will not be the only former Lady Devil playing at Maryville College next fall. She will join Olivia Norris, who will be a sophomore for the Lady Scots. Konieczny felt that having a former teammate around helped make her more comfortable with the program that has quickly grown to feel like family to her.
“It’s nice that Olivia is there, it’s nice to know someone,” Konieczny said. “When I went on my campus visit she joined us, and I had a chance to meet some of the other girls and that made me very excited to join them. You could really tell that it’s like a family there. I could immediately tell it was an environment I felt good in.”
Maryville College is coming off an 11-4-5 season in which it finished runner up in the Collegiate Conference of the South. Over the past five years the Lady Scots have gone 36-4 in conference play.
Konieczny plans to major in elementary Education and wants to one day be a teacher and a coach.
“I have a class right now where I go to an elementary school and peer tutor,” Konieczny said. “That’s really when I decided I wanted to be an elementary school teacher and coach. I want to give back what was given to me. I’ve met my best friends playing soccer, and I just want a chance to give that opportunity to other people.”