Lady ’Cat senior athlete Grace Woodby signs with Tyler Junior College
Paris High School senior Grace Woodby signed her letter of intent to play soccer at Tyler Junior College, a public community college located in Tyler. She starred on the Lady ’Cats varsity soccer team for the past four years as the goalie, a position she will play for the Apaches.
The Tyler Junior College athletic program as a whole is accustomed to success with a total of 62 championships across the board, and the Apache women’s soccer program enters 2020 defending its national championship from the previous season.
Woodby has also been a part of a strong, winning culture with the Lady ’Cat soccer program. She was named the district’s Co-Goalkeeper of the Year, she allowed fewer than one goal per game on average during her junior year, and she helped lead her team to the regional semifinals in that season. When Paris competed in its second regional tournament appearance in school history against Melissa, the game was ironically played in Tyler.
As she made a strong, lasting mark on the program, she knew she did not want the journey to end after sports were suspended from the COVID-19 outbreak. Even though her senior year and team’s season was cut short, Woodby was confident in her desire to continue playing soccer on the collegiate level. Those dreams became a reality when the Apaches took interest in and eventually made an offer to the Lady ’Cats star goalie.
“It all started when Coach (Haley) Jetton mentioned to me that TJC was interested in me,” Woodby said. “I got really excited because I knew they were national champions, so that was really big for me. I thought it would be really good for me, and got me really excited.”
The coronavirus took away her final season, but it would not steal her public celebratory moment with her family and friends. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions not allowing a large gathering at the high school, her public signing was held at the PISD office, where her family and friends could attend and take photos.
“Ever since the spread of coronavirus started, it was hard to get a signing day in at the school for everybody to come,” Woodby said. “It was disappointing, but I’m glad we could still do it.”
Being a leader in any setting requires a successful blend of both actions and words. Over the years, Woodby evolved as a leader for her team as she entered Paris High School as a talented freshman and will soon walk across a stage as a senior graduate, who helped lay down a strong foundation for the Lady ’Cat athletic program.
“I’ve learned to lead by example,” Woodby said. “Everyone on my soccer team knew that I really wanted to pursue a career in soccer in college, so I worked really hard and showed everyone I could do it. I showed everyone else that if they wanted to do it, then they could do it too.”
Along with soccer, Woodby also excelled as a leader in the volleyball program, where she was a four-year varsity starter. She earned numerous all-district honors, including Co-MVP honors during her senior season. She led the Lady ’Cats to arguably their most successful season since 2010, which included a district title along with advancing past the bi-district round for the first time in almost a decade.