Oak Ridge does not have a boys volleyball team, but that didn’t stop senior Brent Seyer from earning a scholarship to play the sport collegiately.
Seyer had only played volleyball for one season before officially signing a national letter of intent with Missouri Baptist in February. Seyer’s brother Alex decided to join the North Stoddard Scott County volleyball club, which led Brent to do the same the day before tryouts.
Seyer knew it would be a major time commitment since the club volleyball season goes on during basketball season. However, the volleyball team only practices twice a week and once on Sundays. Tournaments are also only held on the weekends, mostly in St. Louis.
It was at one of these tournaments where Seyer was approached by Missouri Baptist head coach Tom Young.
“I set up a visit, and he watched me play a few more times throughout the year and we went from there,” Seyer said. “Men’s volleyball isn’t the biggest sport right now, but it’s definitely growing. It’s good to have that growth and seeing more athletes around the school district, especially from a small school like I go to.”
Seyer is a setter and Missouri Baptist primarily runs a 5-1 scheme, which means there is only one setter to five hitters. Missouri Baptist also runs a 6-2 from time to time, but Seyer will most likely play in the front row at the college level.
St. Louis is one of the main areas where most high school teams have men’s volleyball, so playing for NSSC and traveling up north on I-55 has been beneficial for Seyer to play against top talent. Seyer knows the level of competition will only intensify once he starts playing in college.
“It’s going to be tough,” Seyer said. “Being in the NAIA is a very difficult division — it’s going to be tougher, but the hitters are also going to be better. In a smaller club, you’re going to have some OK hitters, but when you get to the big clubs you’re going to have some big hitters. It always helps to have that.”
As a setter, the chemistry between Seyer and the hitters on his team is something that is key for success. Seyer said he learned that sooner rather than later in his first year.
“At the beginning of the season, it was just setting the ball to a spot and [the hitters] go and get it,” Seyer said. “[Before the end of the season], you just know where your hitters are and what they’re good and bad at — knowing what they can do and not do.”
Not only has volleyball been a way for Seyer to further his athletic career and education, but it’s also been a way to spend more time with his brother since the two play and practice against each other.
“We actually just got finished playing against each other, and of course [my team] won,” Seyer laughed. “It’s always great to practice together because we practice at the same time every week, so it’s great to get that opportunity.”
Off the volleyball court and in the classroom, Seyer will be studying education because of the teachers he’s been influenced by at Oak Ridge. The other reason why Seyer wants to become a teacher is because he wants to be a volleyball coach after his playing career.
While playing club volleyball for NSSC, Seyer was a starter for Oak Ridge’s basketball team and helped lead the Blue Jays to finish as the Class 2 District 3 runner-ups with a record of 20-8.
Oak Ridge has a population of under 300 people, and Seyer knows he will miss his family and the friends he’s made there, but he also knows it’s time for him to move on.
“Our hometown is a small, small community, and I love the community but it’s just time to get away,” Seyer said. “Get to see the world a little bit and get to have the new experience of what college is like and being off on your own. I’m excited for it.”