Mia Clark signs with GNTC

On hand to watch Mia Clark (seated, center) sign with the Georgia Northwestern Lady Bobcats were Gaye Johnson and Autumn Clark, Lady Bobcats’ head coach David Stephenson, Ringgold head coach Margaret Stockburger, Victoria Clemmons and Ray Johnson. (Messenger photo/Scott Herpst)

Mia Clark has endured her share of tough times during the last several years, but she’s more than ready to begin a new chapter in playing career.

That new chapter will start at Georgia Northwestern after the Ringgold senior recently signed on to play basketball with the Lady Bobcats beginning next season.

“This day means a lot to me because I’ve been through a lot of adversity and things,” she said before making her choice official in front of family, friends and teammates at RHS. “But I have God by my side so it’s good to be able to further my career in sports.”

For Clark, who was already taking classes at Ringgold for GNTC’s dual enrollment program, getting the chance to play basketball for the school was a perfect fit.

“After meeting with Coach (David Stephenson), it just seemed like the right place,” she said. “We hit it off right from the beginning and I like it because it’s close (to home).”

Clark was a member of a Lady Tiger program that advanced to the Class AAA Sweet Sixteen in each of the last three seasons.

Stephenson said Clark was a classic example of the type of student-athlete that Georgia Northwestern wants in its athletic programs.

“I believe it’s our mission to get some kids that, for what ever reason, have slipped through the cracks,” he explained. “They think their chances of playing (in college) are done and suddenly they get this opportunity. She’s comes from a quality program, she’s lettered four years here and played the last six years for a great coach like Coach (Margaret) Stockburger, so I know that she knows the game.

“She’s a great girl. She makes great grades and she has a great heart. When I talked to her, she really bought into what we’ve been talking about: changing the culture of our women’s (basketball) program. I’m super excited to get her. Hopefully it will lead to us getting other players from (Ringgold) in the future.”

Stockburger, who coached Clark for the past six years at Ringgold Middle School and Ringgold High School, called her “a great young lady.”

“She has struggled through some injuries during the last six years that I’ve been privileged to coach her, but she’s done her best to fight back and do what she could do,” the veteran coach said. “She had ankle surgery early on this year, but she was able to make it back for Senior Night and from that point on, she was able to give us some quality minutes that we needed. She was able to uplift the team during the time when we needed for that to happen.

“I think she’ll step right in and do what Coach (Stephenson) needs her to do and be big asset to the program.”

“I’m going to bring a positive attitude to the team,” Clark added. “I might not be on top of my game at all times, but I always want to be able to show God through me with how I play.”

Clark plans to major in Early Childhood Education.