SCC’s Bailey Lehr signs as Raider two-sport athlete
Scotus Central Catholic’s Bailey Lehr signed her letter of intent on Tuesday, continuing her athletic career at Central Community College-Columbus.
In an ambitious approach to playing at the next level, Lehr will suit up for both the Raider volleyball program and the Raider women’s basketball program. A standout for the Shamrocks in both seasons, Lehr welcomes the challenge of balancing an academic and athletic schedule that will no doubt be a demanding pursuit.
Yet, it was that challenge that drew Lehr to CCC.
“Well I definitely was debating things, but in the end, this was the best college for me,” Lehr said. “I’m super glad I picked it and I’m excited. I get to play two sports in college. Not everybody gets to do that.”
Lehr, an all-state honoree on the girls championship basketball team from a year ago, and the top option on this fall’s SCC state volleyball tournament team, Lehr has certainly made a name for herself recently.
CCC women’s hoops coach Billy Perkins believes that Lehr can carry her strong play over and have an immediate impact thanks to her experience playing at a high level.
“Her winning a state championship last year helps us be more successful on the court,” he said. “Anybody that comes in our program has the opportunity to make an impact depending on what they want to do in the offseason and once they get her.
“People we talked to said she’s a great kid, hard worker and just a very good athlete. Most of all, she’s very dynamic, she can play the three, four or five and has that championships mentality that we’re looking for.”
Head basketball coach at Scotus, Jarrod Ridder, agreed that Lehr will have a successful college career.
“Bailey has worked extremely hard,” he said. “She has been in this gym a lot practicing and playing. It’s a fun and rewarding thing to see her go play college basketball.
“She can guard multiple positions on the court, and she can really score in the post. She can score from the 3-point line. I think when she gets to Central, she’s going to be a really good player for them.”
Mary Young, CCC volleyball coach, has been impressed by Lehr’s versatility on the court. Her addition to the Raiders will provide a weapon that can hit in the middle, on the outside and play defensively in the back row.
“She has great potential,” Young said. “I think she’s the type that will find her way to the court and will be a good player for us.”
If Lehr completes her two years of junior college sports at CCC, it will extend a streak of seven years in which a Shamrock has been on the Raiders volleyball roster.
Payton Chochon joined the program for two seasons starting in 2014, Maeghan Pieper followed her in 2016 and Shania Borchers just complete her first season on the team.
Young, who’s led CCC for 24 seasons, uniquely understands what Lehr will face. Young was herself a two-sport college athlete.
“It is tough, and that is one thing that I think drew Bailey to Central, is that we’re small enough that we can work together and do both sports well,” Young said.
“She loves basketball and she loves volleyball, so I think that it’s great that we can do that. It can be done, it just has to be the right type of student-athlete that can balance everything. We think we have the right coaching staff to balance it as well. I’m excited to work with Billy (Perkins) and I think he’s excited to work with us as well.”
Janet Tooley, Scotus volleyball coach, has seen Lehr’s love to compete up close. With the future Raider just right up the road, Tooley is excited to see that love continue close to home.
“Even in junior high, and early high school years, we knew that Bailey was a special type of athlete and a special type of individual,” Tooley said. “You hope that these things can happen for her and she did what she needed to make it happen.
“Bailey will continue to improve and get even better under Mary’s guidance. I believe she could make a definite impact immediately the first day she steps on the court for them.”
Of course, Lehr has to believe in that potential herself. It’s one thing to enjoy playing in the games, it’s another to enjoy the process of preparing and sacrificing a tremendous amount of free time.
Lehr has no reservations. She feels navigating high school as a three-sport athlete was good preparation.
It’s of course, more demanding, but Lehr is ready to prove herself.
“I’m kind of expecting the same intensity and all-year-round just like three-sport is,” Lehr said. “I’m definitely going to miss the people. Especially since I’ve been with these guys for six years now. It’s a new level of competition in general, everything is going to be higher. There are new things, there’s nationals and that stuff, which you don’t have in high school basketball.”
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com