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Signing with Rio Grande fulfills dream for Noel

Rock Hill Redwomen senior basketball guard Kyleigh Noel signed a letter-of-intent to play at the University of Rio Grande. Attending the signing ceremony were: seated from left to right, sister Jaylon Noel, mother Brooke Scott, Kyleigh and father Craig Noel; standing left to right, sister Haven Noel and RedStorm head coach Dave Smalley. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos.com)

Jim Walker

PEDRO — Maybe Kyleigh Noel is a fan of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler’s song “Dream On.” She can hear the chorus loud and clear.
“Dream on, dream on, dream on
Dream yourself a dream come true.
Dream on, dream on, dream on,
Dream until your dreams come true.”
The dream for the Rock Hill Redwomen senior basketball guard was to play college basketball. That dream came true as she signed a letter-of-intent to play for the University of Rio Grande.
“I’ve loved basketball since I was little. I’ve worked behind the scenes my whole life. AAU, school ball, summer leagues, everything. It’s always been a dream for me,” said Noel.
RedStorm head coach Dave Smalley helped make Noel’s dream come true and he’s happy for what she can do for his program.
“We’re excited to get all these local ladies within 50 minutes to an hour radius. That’s part of who we are and what we’re trying to get back to. We’re excited to have Kyleigh in the program and we’re looking forward to four great years,” said Smalley.
Noel was a starter for the Redwomen the past two seasons and split time between shooting guard and point guard. That trend will continue at the next level.
“She’s a good student going into sports and exercise program. We’re going to look at her at the point guard or the off guard depending on the adjustment she makes coming into our system. She’ll start out in our junior varsity program and the sky’s the limit,” said Smalley.
Rock Hill head coach Todd Knipp agreed with Smalley about the potential Noel brings to the Rio Grande program.
“She shoots the ball well. I think her best basketball is in front of her. She came a long way this season. She can build on her basketball career and represent our school and our program at the next level,” said Knipp.
Noel likes the fact Rio Grande has a need for a guard who plays the two positions that are best suited for her.
But she said there were other factors in her decision.
“At first I (considered other schools), but then I went and visited Rio and this fit me a lot more. It’s out in the country and it’s not too city, and it’s not too far from home,” said Noel.
Naturally, the going from high school to college will be a challenge, especially trying to juggle athletics and travel with academics.
“It’ll definitely be a big step from high school and AAU, but I’m ready for it. They’re expecting me to work hard, in and out of the classroom, and just play ball,” she said.
Noel plans to major in psychology.