JHS alum Clara Parker among 2022 newcomers for Arkansas State volleyball


Ahead of the 2022 season, Arkansas State volleyball head coach Brian Gerwig announced the addition of seven players to the fold on Monday.

The Red Wolves’ signing class includes five freshman and a pair of Division-I transfers to bolster Gerwig’s first roster at the helm of the program.

Jonesboro native Clara Parker brings a versatile skillset to A-State’s roster, with the ability to play as an outside hitter as well as at the defensive specialist spot. Parker returns to her hometown after spending two seasons at Arkansas. She helped JHS to three state titles (2016, 2018, 2019) and a runner-up finish (2017), while being named the Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019 and an Under Armor All-American Honorable Mention pick.

Yazmyn Billings is the first of five high school signees, hailing from Atlanta. The middle blocker prepared at Kipp Atlanta Collegiate High School, while playing club volleyball for the Atlanta Performance Volleyball Club. In 2022, Billings was Atlanta Performance’s team captain.

Rogers, Ark., native Abby Harris joins the Red Wolves after a standout prep career at Rogers High School. The right-side hitter was two-time team MVP and 2021 West All-Star selection after totaling over 200 kills, 250-plus assists and over 50 blocks as a senior.

Outside hitter Bailey Helzer enters her freshman season after a standout career at Oakland-Craig High School in Nebraska, where she tallied 1,614 kills, 1,230 digs, 215 blocks and 164 aces in her career. She was an all-state selection as a senior after amassing 521 kills.

Sarah Martinez joins the Red Wolves after two seasons at Houston. The defensive specialist had a hand in the Cougars’ 2020-21 AAC West Division crown, while also helping Houston to a 25-7 mark last season. She totaled 70 digs in 62 sets played a season ago after playing in all 75 sets in the 2021 spring campaign.

Twins Maddie and Kyla Wiersema round out the class after completing multi-sport standout careers at Western Michigan Christian. Hailing from Fremont, Mich., both were all-state selections. Maddie, a right-side hitter, set the school record for blocks in a season (158) and in a single match (11). Kyla, a middle blocker, recorded over 1,000 kills in her tenure and earned all-state honors three times.

A-State opens the season at home on Friday, August 26, hosting Mississippi Valley State and Saint Louis in the first day of the A-State Invitational inside First National Bank Arena. The Red Wolves then close out opening weekend on Saturday, August 27, against in-state rival Little Rock.

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