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Glen Rose setter survived cancer at young age, has Tigers at the regional tournament

The Glen Rose volleyball team is at the regional tournament for the first time since 2018. The Tigers (27-18) will play Canyon Randall (41-4), #1 in Class 4A and defending state champ.

The 4A Region 1 semifinal will be 6 pm Friday at Wolfforth Frenship HS.

Glen Rose has seven seniors – Grace Booth, Addison Worthen, Ava Sehnert, Paisley Evans, Reese Waits, Aimee Flippen and Avery Gray.

“It’s been amazing. This is really happening,” said Gray, a setter, after Glen Rose’s 3-1 win over Decatur in the regional quarterfinals. “This is a really special group. We know this is our last ride together. We can all play for each other every night knowing we won’t have any regrets.”

Gray signed her NLI with Mary Hardin-Baylor on Wednesday.

But her story goes much deeper than the past four years with Glen Rose.

You see, Gray is a survivor.

When she was 4, Gray was diagnosed with a Wilm’s tumor, a type of pediatric kidney cancer and she had to endure a major abdominal surgery to remove the 1-pound tumor as well as her left kidney. She had a second surgery to remove a portion of her lung that doctor thought might be cancer, which had spread after Gray wasn’t responding to the chemo.

Gray went seven days through radiation and six months of chemo before having a third surgery.

Once again – she was only FOUR years old.

“I mainly remember my tummy hurting a lot,” she said. “I good thing was I was too young to understand the fear that comes with cancer. My parents were careful about talking to me about it while not trying to scare me with already what I was dealing with.

“The doctors and nurses would play with me and bring me games and do activities – anything they could do to keep me comfortable and entertained. They were amazing.”

Glen Rose defeated Decatur in four sets on Monday.

The Tigers had lost to Decatur in the playoffs the past two years.

“Now is the time. I think we are playing really well right now. I can’t wait to see what we do at regionals. I think we’re hot and we’re just going to keep going,” Gray said.

Gray has been a four-year letterman for the Tigers and academically ranks #3 in her class. She is already Glen Rose’s career record holder in aces and assists.

Before the Decatur game, Gray had 1,007 assists, 74 aces and 301 digs.

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