By Randy Arrington
LURAY, March 28 — Which one is it gonna be? Basketball or volleyball? And where? The three-sport student-athlete at Luray High School heard these questions often over the last few years as fans of Bulldog Nation wanted to know what the future held for one of their top female athletes.
“I was asked that all the time,” the senior said on Tuesday.
Gathered with friends and family in the LHS commons on Tuesday afternoon, Jaidyn McClung finally ended all the questions by signing her letter of intent to play volleyball for the Eagles of Bridgewater College next fall.
“I came here with mixed emotions,” McClung said of her signing ceremony. “I’m super excited to play with players of this caliber, but I’m sad to leave some of the best coaches I’ve ever had.”
McClung got the call from Bridgewater head coach Erin Harris after an appearance at the Capital Hill Club Volleyball Tournament in D.C. She was playing as a member of the Valley Juniors, a team within a regional competitive, travel volleyball league that pulls talent from across the Bull Run District and Region B. East Rockingham head volleyball coach Jonathan Williams leads the team, which plays two tournaments a month (every other weekend) from January through May. Teams at the D.C. tournament hailed from all across country, as well as one from Canada that McClung recalls competing against.
The LHS standout had a host of teams in the Division III Old Dominion Athletic Conference calling for her talents. It started her junior year with Eastern Mennonite University and continued with contact from Lynchburg College, Randolph College and of course, Bridgewater…and that was just for volleyball. She also received interest from Randolph-Macon College, EMU and Randolph for basketball as well.
The multiple-sport interest is easy to understand given the fact that McClung has earned Class 2 All-State status in basketball, volleyball and track. Bridgewater also recruited the Luray senior for track as well, but she decided to concentrate on her favorite.
“I feel like I could go all day doing it and it wouldn’t feel like a job,” McClung said of volleyball. “The others wouldn’t necessarily feel like a job, but volleyball is just what I enjoy the most. People assumed basketball was my favorite sport because I played it longer, but [my favorite] changed my sophomore year [to volleyball] because I began to understand the game more and the fundamentals.”
Another reason driving the college-bound athlete to focus on a single sport is the fact that she will walk onto campus next fall as a junior. The LHS senior plans to complete her associate’s degree this spring through a dual-enrollment program at Laurel Ridge Community College. After completing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at Bridgewater, she plans to remain on campus for a total of four years to complete a master’s degree in a yet undetermined area of study.
“I appreciate Jaidyn and all she’s done at Luray High School through athletics and academics…Jaidyn is an exemplary athlete that will move on to the next level at Bridgewater,” LHS Athletic Director Don Ehlers said at the onset of Tuesday’s ceremony. “To be a three-sport athlete today is really special…you just don’t see that as much anymore.”
With more than 1,000 career kills and more than 1,000 career digs, McClung will go down as one of the greatest to play volleyball at LHS. She carried the Bulldogs to a state runner-up finish in Class 2 last season and was named the Region B “Player of the Year” this fall after twice being named the Bull Run District “Player of the Year.”
“I knew that she was an exceptional athlete the minute I saw her in middle school,” Luray’s head volleyball coach Susan Henry-Wilson said on Tuesday. “I am extremely proud of her…You laid a solid foundation for us, and I know you’ll be back and help grow our program even more.”
McClung played in three-consecutive Class 2 state championships in basketball at VCU’s Siegel Center in Richmond and helped bring home one state title during the COVID-shortened season, earning first-team All-State that same year. Last Thursday, the senior was named to the Class 2 All-State second team for girls basketball, despite the Bulldogs falling in the first round of the Region B tournament this season to rival Page.
The multi-sport athlete joined track later than the others. However, in her first season, McClung went all the way to the VHSL Class 2 Track and Field State Championships in June at JMU. The then-junior earned fifth place in the girls long jump (16-03) and 10th place in the girls triple jump (32-08.5). She is poised to make another run at state this spring.
“You could see her success coming up…she came to track excited,” LHS head track coach (and newly named head football coach) Skip Hamilton said on Tuesday. “You see all this success…the hard work that you see and her determination to be the best…that will help you as you go to Bridgewater and beyond, and it’s a credit to you.”
Although she was initially leaning toward Lynchburg, McClung eventually chose Bridgewater after going to an elite volleyball camp there and seeing a tough work ethic among the players — a style and environment that mirrored her own.
“If you are not on it, they will call you out,” McClung said. “I like to go hard like that, and I call people out.”
The three-time All-State volleyball player should be able to contribute to a D-III squad that is already pretty good. The Eagles went 9-3 in the ODAC last season and 17-12 overall. BWC was just one conference win below eventual ODAC champ Randolph-Macon. Coach Harris lost four seniors to graduation on the 14-spot roster.
McClung has met with the coach and players from Bridgewater, she’s been asked about her character, and she’s been told to prepare to work hard. And this Luray senior is ready for all of it next fall.
“I’m excited to learn from them and learn from the coach,” McClung said. “I’m excited to see what I learn and how I change the style of how I play.”
Learn more about Bridgewater College volleyball at
McClung named first team All-State in volleyball
McClung named Region B ‘Player of the Year’ following Luray’s loss in title game
McClung named Bull Run’s ‘Player of the Year’ a second time, while surpassing 1,000 kills and digs
Bulldogs announce fall sports awards
McClung named Bull Run’s Player of the Year, Bulldogs place three on All-District squad
McClung earns All-State honors
McClung earns first-team All-Region honors
McClung named Bull Run District ‘Player of the Year’
Bulldogs announce team awards for winter sports
Six local players earn All-Region basketball honors
Six local players earn Bull Run All-District basketball honors
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