The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

Ciara Byars: More than an athlete

Photo by Smoke Signals
Ciara Byars continues to lead her team through injury.

Basketball is more than a game, and Ciara Byars is more than an athlete.

In fourth grade, she made a choice that would change her life forever — joining a youth basketball team in Paris, KY.

Being the only girl on the team, she was already setting herself apart from the rest. 

With a family tree of basketball stars, Ciara was always next in line. Basketball being a staple throughout her childhood had a significant effect on her knowledge of the sport.

Growing up in the gym, watching her dad coach and her sisters play initially inspired her. Her appreciation for the sport and her God-given talent created the blueprint for a gifted athlete. 

Ciara grew up in a basketball family. She is pictured here with her dad and sister Bri.

If you’ve spent just five minutes with Ciara, then you understand what humble heart she has.

From a coaches point of view, she’s a pleasure to work with. “She’s a special player in the fact that she’s very talented,” says Coach Robbie Graham. “God has gifted her with the tremendous ability to play basketball.“

GRC Hoops took a hit earlier this season when Ciara Byars suffered a knee injury. Some athletes give up when faced with an injury, but in true Ciara fashion, she found the silver lining.

“I mean, things can always be worse… everything happens for a reason,” she says.

She found strength in her team, saying, “My teammates have made everything 10 times better, just continuously winning and being supportive.”

By putting a positive spin on this setback, Ciara has experienced basketball in a whole new way.

Forced to take a step back, she’s been able to expand her knowledge of the game while bridging the gap between coach and athlete. “Being able to be the mediator between player and coach…,” she says, has “been pretty cool but also very eye-opening.” 

Ciara has been receiving advanced treatment from seasoned pros; she’s on track for a speedy recovery. “They have been working on ACL recovery and reconstruction for athletes for literally decades,” she says.

The treatment is setting her up to be her best, but she’s putting the work in on her own time, saying, “That’s pretty much what my whole summer will consist of.”

Gaining her strength back will be a time commitment, but Ciara’s up for the challenge. 

Throughout her recovery process, Ciara has been surrounded by support. Between her family, friends, teammates, and student body, GRC has been cheering Ciara on.

Ciara is one of a kind in every way. Her older sister, Brianna Byars, and former GRC Hoops star, says this about her little siser: “Something that makes Ciara special is that she’s not someone you find twice — not only as a person, but as a player!” 

Ciara has received advice from other athletes who have experienced injury and pushed through.

Her oldest sister, Anovia, who tore her ACL three times during high school, is someone Ciara has leaned on while coping with recovery.

Anovia’s experience with injury gives her a different insight to advise Ciara. “She’s really been the one in my ear saying, ‘You’ve got this. Push through it.’”   

Ciara’s ability to recover and persevere is rare for anyone, but especially someone her age.

She has an “old soul” – an admirable trait – according to Coach Graham and stays humble throughout her many successes.

She finds the light at the end of every tunnel. Basketball is more than just a game for Ciara. And she is certainly more than just an athlete. 

Ciara Byars with her parents after the GRC Hoops 10th Region Championship (Photo by Smoke Signals)


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Meredith Boone
Meredith Boone, Multimedia Staff
If Axl from The Middle and Sharpay Evans had a baby, it would be Meredith Boone. Her favorite color has always been pink and her hobbies include online shopping, painting her nails and napping. She loves to try new foods and hates making decisions. If Meredith could describe herself in three words it would be Swiftie for Life. As of now, her obsession is the song August by the queen herself (Taylor Swift). Between school and extracurriculars, she relies on her daily Celcius to get through many hours of hard work. Smoke Signals is an exciting opportunity and she’s looking forward to taking on new responsibilities this 23-24 school year.

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  • A

    Annie LucasMar 15, 2024 at 9:47 am

    Amazingly written

  • J

    James LandrumMar 14, 2024 at 6:12 pm

    Get well soon. Cuz.