Brianna Ragains, Lebanon Yellowjackets, has signed with the Missouri Southern Lions in Joplin. ‘Bri’, as she is called by family and friends, is another of the multi-sport stars that many of the regional high schools are fortunate to have. In the Fall she runs for Lebanon’s District Champion cross-country program, and she qualified for State as a junior and a senior as the team also advanced. In the Winter she has been a starter on the varsity basketball team since her sophomore year. Her first love is soccer however. Here’s what Coach Trevor Wachsman of Missouri Southern had to say:
With the graduation of seven seniors this year, Brianna and the rest of our incoming freshman class will be required to make significant contributions. She has had access to great coaches in club and High School soccer and we see her potentially filling in at a few different spots on the field. I expect Brianna to be an excellent student athlete and a great representative for MSSU and the women’s soccer program.
Bri has been playing soccer since elementary school and as Coach Mike Gow noted in my conversation with him, is a leader in the group he knew would have a major impact on the girls program at Lebanon HS. How about these numbers – single season record for goals with 29 as a freshman, another 24 as a sophomore and 13 last year while moving from forward to midfield. She will be one of five seniors on a team that is returning 10 of 11 starters from a squad that lost 0-1 to Rolla in the District 11 tournament last Spring (great game!) and is a captain for this year. Coach Gow described Bri this way:
Bri was expected to be, and has become, a leader in the transition of the Lebanon Lady Yellowjackets program. She is a high percentage shooter, and a challenge to defend anywhere on the pitch. We are very excited about the opportunity she has joining the program at Missouri Southern. I expect she’ll handle the transition to top Division II play well.
When I talked to Bri about the recruiting process, the most interesting aspect for me was the decision she recently made to stay closer to home then she originally anticipated. One of the great opportunities college affords is the new found independence, discovering life as a young adult. While Bri considered going to a program out-of-state, the closer it came to making a decision the more she began to focus on schools that wouldn’t require significant travel.
Her first contact with Missouri Southern came last summer, when Coach Wachsman met her while the Yellowjackets participated in the Missouri State Team Camp. They stayed in touch during the school year and following her visit, she made a recent decision to accept his offer to play for the Lions. The factors in her decision were location, the quality of the coaches and she enjoyed the bond the team has and the way they welcomed her.
For a final word on the topic, I asked Coach Jeremy Alumbaugh, Bri’s club coach at Springfield SC the past three years to offer his thoughts as well:
Bri is first and foremost an athlete and a competitor. It is evidenced by her ability to compete and excel in multiple sports at the high school level. Commuting to Springfield from Lebanon the past three years is an example of her commitment and dedication to a sport and a program. She has a versatile game that will allow her to do well in the college game. More importantly, dedicating herself to soccer will likely lead to even greater levels of achievement and growth in the coming four years. I expect her to do very well playing for Coach Wachsman.
Brianna is pictured with Mike Gow, Soccer Coach and Ron Bandy, AD and her Cross Country Coach at last Wednesday’s signing event.