WAYNE – With NCAA Division I and II volleyball teams making additions to their future program, Wayne State College signed six.
According to a release from Wayne State Athletics, Wildcat head volleyball coach Scott Kneifl announced the signings of six student-athletes to attend Wayne State and play volleyball for WSC in the 2023-24 academic year.
The list includes Kaelyn Anderson of Elkhorn, Grace Baumert from Howells, Gracen Evans of Ponca, Laney Kathol from Hartington, Ella Myler of Missouri Valley, Iowa and Channatee Robles of Norfolk.
Kaelyn Anderson is a 5’4” defensive specialist/libero from Elkhorn High School where she was a starter in three sports – volleyball, basketball and track and field. As a senior Anderson had 528 digs averaging 6.1 digs per set for the Antlers to earn Second Team All-Eastern Midlands Conference and Class B All-State honorable mention honors. Last spring she ran a leg on the Class B eighth place 400-meter relay team at the State Track Meet.
“Kaelyn is a bulldog defensively,” remarked Coach Kneifl. “She reads the ball very well and is extremely quick with the ability to make great defensive plays. She is a natural leader that communicates very well on the court and a great teammate. Kaelyn has the ability to become a factor in the back row at WSC with quality repetitions.”
Grace Baumert is a 6’2” outside hitter from Howells-Dodge High School, starting three seasons in volleyball. This season she led the Jaguars to a second straight state championship with a 29-4 record, matching an All-Class State Tournament record with 42 kills in the state championship match vs. Overton. Baumert had 531 kills this season averaging 5.8 kills per set with a .330 hitting percentage. She was Class D1 All-State last season and was a Second Team Class C2 All-State selection as a sophomore. Baumert finished her high school career with 1,347 kills in just three seasons at Howells-Dodge with 683 digs and 147 service aces and was a four-time First Team All-Conference honoree.
“Grace is a very talented attacker that has had an extremely successful high school career,” said Kneifl. “Her length at the net is an added bonus and she has ability to find holes in defenses, from both the front and back row. We plan to train Grace in multiple positions at Wayne State and we are very excited that she will be joining our program at the semester to make an impact on our beach team this spring.”
Gracen Evans, a 5’10” outside hitter from Ponca High School, is a four-year starter in volleyball and track and field and a three-year starter in basketball. This season Evans helped Ponca win the Lewis and Clark Conference championship with a 23-11 record and during her senior season surpassed 1,000 career kills and digs, averaging 4.2 kills and 4.2 digs per set. She earned All Lewis and Clark Conference honors in basketball as a sophomore and junior and was All-State honorable mention in basketball as a junior.
“Gracen is a utility player that can kind of do it all in our sport,” remarked Coach Kneifl. “She will train as an outside hitter as well as a defensive specialist for the Wildcats and her ability to play several positions will be very beneficial for her during the beach season as well. Gracen has had a great high school career and has grown up around our program and has worked extremely hard to reach her goal of playing for the Wildcats.”
Laney Kathol is a 5’11” middle hitter from Hartington Cedar Catholic High School where she is a multi-sport standout in volleyball, basketball and track and field. This season she recorded 491 kills (4.9 per set) with 211 digs, 84 blocks and 53 service aces while leading the Trojans to a 27-10 record and the Class D1 State Title. Kathol was a Class D1 All-State Second Team honoree as a sophomore in 2020. Last spring in track and field Kathol was the Class C State Champion in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:18.27 and placed third in the 400-meter dash (59.63) while running the anchor leg on the state champion 1600-meter relay team. Kathol excels in the classroom earning Academic All-State honors in volleyball, basketball and track and field.
“Laney is an explosive attacker who keeps improving every time we get an opportunity to watch her play,” commented Kneifl. “She terminates at a high level and plays extremely high above the net. Her net play could make an immediate impact for our program and when she has the ability in college to just concentrate on one sport we think she will flourish.”
Ella Myler, a 5’11” outside hitter from Missouri Valley High School in Iowa, is a four year starter in volleyball and played club ball for Nebraska Elite while also competing in basketball and track and field in high school. Myler is a two-time All-Western Iowa Conference First Team selection along with KMALand Iowa Volleyball honoree. She went over 1,000 career digs this season as a senior and recorded a .358 hitting percentage while averaging 3.0 kills per set as a junior. Myler holds numerous school records including most kills in a season and career and most career digs.
“Ella’s ability to receive serve and play great defense while still being an effective front row player is very exciting,” said Coach Kneifl. “She is a multi-talented volleyball player that has had success at the high school level and with a high level of club play. Ella is a baller – she has a great volleyball IQ – and we are very excited about her future as a Wildcat.”
Channatee Robles, a 5’10” outside hitter from Norfolk Catholic High School, is a three-year starter in volleyball while also starting in basketball and track and field. Robles helped the Knights to Class D1 State Runner-up honors this season recording 519 kills and 324 digs as Norfolk Catholic finished with a 30-5 record. She closed her high school career with 1,180 kills and 1,060 digs in three seasons, playing on three state tournament teams including two state runner up squads. Post season honors include Norfolk Daily News Super Six this season, First Team Class C2 All-State, All-Mid States Conference and All-Area First Team in 2020 as a sophomore.
“Channatee is coming off a very successful senior season,” stated Kneifl. “She is a player we targeted very early in the recruiting process. Her vision and ability to terminate with a variety of shots is something that comes very natural to her. She is very athletic and has touch and feel that we rarely see in the high school ranks. We are very excited to see her growth as a Wildcat.”
Wayne State College is 29-1 and NSIC regular season champions with a 19-1 league mark. The Wildcats, ranked second in this week’s AVCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll, will face #8 seed Augustana Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the opening round of the NSIC Volleyball Tournament in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Join Voice of the Wildcats, Aaron Scheffler on The City ‘KCTY’ 98.9/1590 and waynedailynews.com. Pregame show coverage is set for 7 p.m.