While Kayla Meier and Sarah Hammock may have both begun as athletes at Hannibal-LaGrange University prior to becoming teachers for the Mexico Community School District, the first current Lady Bulldog to blaze that trail was Shayla Cox.

"I am a physical education and health teacher at the high school, as well as the head volleyball coach," said Cox. "I teach Basic Fitness, Health and Individual and Team Sports. I started in the fall of 2015."

In her time as a college athlete Cox helped the Lady Trojans softball team finish with a record of 9-30 overall, 0-13 American Midwest Conference, in 2008 as a sophomore catcher. That season may have been her best as an individual, though, hitting .319 with 18 RBI, 12 runs, nine doubles and two homeruns according to www.dakstats.com. She also charted 68 putouts and 62 assists in 38 games.

"(I graduated from) HLGU in 2010 (with a) bachelor of science in education (with an) emphasis on physical education," Cox said. "I played four positions in college. I caught, centerfield, third base and shortstop."

The next season, 2009, Cox played a career high 48 games and helped the Lady Trojans improve to 21-28 overall, 7-9 AMC. She also hit .256 by clocking 33 hits in 129 at-bats with 32 runs, seven walks, six doubles, five steals, 18 RBI and two homeruns.

"(I have been the) Head volleyball coach at Mexico for two years and starting my third this fall," said Cox. "Duties include practice plans, coaching, player development fundamentally and in life skills, building a program that has integrity, class and a positive influential culture."

What all of those accomplishments built up to was a 2010 season that ended at 21-21 overall, 7-9 AMC, for Cox and HGLU. That year she posted 29 hits in 128 at-bats over the course of 43 games played with 20 runs, 12 walks, five doubles, three steals and two triples.

"My number one duty is to build relationships with my athletes and lead by example to help them become successful young ladies of society after high school," Cox said. "Volleyball is temporary. Their character and decision making skills is what is most important."

Prior to all of this Cox graduated from Centralia in 2006, where she lettered in softball, basketball and track. The former Lady Panther then hit .319 as a freshman with the Lady Trojans in 2007 by racking up 43 hits in 135 at-bats with 20 runs, 15 RBI, four steals, four walks, three doubles and two triples.