Mississippi Athletic Conference Player of the Year, All-State Second Team, team-leader in kills and blocks, University of Iowa-bound. Everything about Clinton standout senior Grace Tubbs says elite.
Her contributions to an impressive Clinton volleyball team add Clinton Herald Player of the Year to her repertoire of accolades.
Tubbs is certainly one of the most unique players to come through the River Queen program. She is the tallest player in school history at 6-foot-5 and brings raw talent to the volleyball court.
“Our coaching staff and program has been very fortunate to have Grace the past three years in a Queens uniform," Clinton head coach Micah Cewe said. "She has improved every year and saved this past season as an ultimate way to conclude a high school career setting numerous honors both individually and as a team.
"You can't teach tall, and it's nice to have a 6-foot-5 presence in the middle."
Tubbs' 360 kills served as a team-high and ranked first in the MAC by a margin of 40 kills. Her height helped her get on top of the ball in a way that you don't see often at the high school level and led to some powerful kills down the middle of the court. She led the team with 72 blocks as well.
"We constantly pushed Grace during practices and matches to not settle for getting the job done, but getting it done with authority and making sure the little things were done right," Cewe said. "We wanted her and the rest of the team to have a mindset of "Earning It” every single point.”
Add that onto a genuine love for the sport. If you've ever talked to Grace, you can feel a sincere desire to continue playing.
Some of it stems from family. Her father, Brig, played basketball at the University of Iowa in the early 90's and Tubbs is set to forge her own path in Iowa City when she continues her own athletic career next fall.
Aside from Brig, she was also able to play at CHS with her sister, Elle, for a season in 2015. Tubbs said Elle, who is currently a junior on the Drake volleyball team, motivated her and helped along the way.
"I think growing up around a family of athletes has really shaped who I am today," Tubbs said after signing her National Letter of Intent last week. "Just always being pushed by not only my sister, but my dad, too, and always just having coaches around."
It's a game she knows inside and out – from serve to kill – and it makes it more fun to watch her with the passion she plays with.
“Aside from her being the tallest player in school history and in about every gym we walked into and every opponent we played, her passion and love for the game ranks just as tall as her 77 inch stature," Cewe said. "Her commitment to volleyball at both the high school and club levels keep a ball in her hands year-round. Her athletic abilities are great, but to have the honor of coaching and getting to know Grace as a person makes coaching even more fun.
Plus, Cewe and Tubbs both tout faith as an important part of the athletic experience.
"Grace will be the first to tell you that her No. 1 priority in life is her faith," Cewe said. "She, along with many of her teammates have been able to take their faith to the next level, and acted upon what is important in life during and after volleyball."
Clintonians had the chance to watch Grace turn into a phenomenal volleyball player who was genuinely fun to watch. You would see a set come her way and feel your body tense in anticipation for a big moment in the game.
And they don't have to stop watching now that she's headed to the University of Iowa. Her stats are one thing, but the traits she has as a young woman make her standout as a an athlete.
“She made a huge impact for us as a player on the court and an academic scholar in the classroom, but most importantly she was a positive leader and great example as a person," Cewe said. "Her character, leadership qualities and demeanor really completes the entire volleyball package and that’s really special.”