By Marilyn Velazquez
Jayla and Lexi Hattaway are two of the 1,415 residents who live there in the rural town of Wolfe City, Texas, which is located little over 70 miles northeast of Brookhaven College.The sisters are finishing their senior year at Wolfe City High School, in a class of just 38 students, and will soon call Brookhaven their new home when they join the Lady Bears volleyball team in the Fall 2017 semester.
Although the sisters are currently seniors at Wolfe City High School, Jayla is a year older. Lexi said their mother, Wendy, held Jayla back in first grade to keep them together throughout their school lives.
“Jayla is really shy,” Lexi said. “She takes me everywhere.”
Although they have different personalities, they share a love for volleyball.
Straight-A students, Jayla and Lexi balance academics and athletics, playing for the Lady Wolves at Wolfe City High School. Both sisters were recognized as academic all-state players at the end of the fall 2016 season.
The duo led their high school volleyball team to playoffs, placing third in the state’s 2A Division.
The school had never qualified for state playoffs before Jayla and Lexi moved to Wolfe City their sophomore year.
“These two show up, and all of a sudden, boom, they start winning,” Jason Hopkins, Brookhaven’s head volleyball coach, said.
Lexi said they are originally from Leonard, Texas, where they attended Leonard High School, a 3A Division school with a class of 70 students when they were sophomores.
“The volleyball program was just more intense [at Leonard],” Lexi said.
The transition to Wolfe City was not easy for the two sisters.
“[The Wolfe City volleyball team] did not understand why we were trying so hard,” Lexi said. “The first day of practice, all the girls trained hard, and then they stopped after that.”
The Wolfe City team won only one set their entire season prior to the Hattaways arrival.
“These girls … flipped the program on its ear,” Stephen Blassingame, head coach of the Wolfe City girl’s basketball and softball teams, said in an interview with ntxe-news.com.
However, Jayla was not always into volleyball. She said her passion leaned toward basketball. She and her sister played in a competitive select basketball team outside of school, which Jayla was more involved in.
“It wasn’t until senior year when I started loving volleyball,” Jayla said. “I started hitting better and playing better. So, I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll do better in volleyball.’”
Lexi began playing in a select volleyball team outside of school her sophomore year. She began to email coaches around the area to be scouted for college volleyball. “Our mom Googled Hopkins and emailed him,” she said. “She thought he was a really good coach.”
At first, only Lexi was scouted, but Hopkins saw potential in Jayla, as well.
Hopkins invited the Hattaways to practice with the Lady Bears in January.
“I was really nervous [coming to Brookhaven] and practicing with the volleyball team,” Lexi said.
Both sisters quickly made friends with Teresa Flores, a setter for the Lady Bears.
Hopkins signed both Hattaway sisters to Brookhaven’s volleyball team Feb. 7.
“It [was] a fantastic day for the Wolfe City athletics,” Dan Anderson, Wolfe City High School athletic director, said in an interview with ntxw-news.com. “Some people thought it was really great that people from Wolfe City were going to the next level because not many people do that here,” she said.
Wendy said her daughters were also scouted by Eastfield and North Lake colleges, but is ready for her daughters to make their mark at Brookhaven.