GREENWOOD – The Lander volleyball program and head coach Ashley White announced its 2018 signing class on Thursday.
"This year's recruiting class for Lander volleyball is a strong looking group of competitors," White said. "We have some great offensive weapons and defensive weapons joining our program. This is going to be a great year to be a Bearcat."
Three of the signees received All-State honors and two were named District Player of the Year. Four different states are represented in the class.
Elle Choate, Middle Blocker, 6-0, Toddville, Iowa (Xavier)
Choate is a senior at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She ranked fourth in the state in blocks. Choate was a second-team All-Metro selection and an All-Conference honorable mention. She was also academic All-Conference and All-State. Choate earned Outstanding Academic Honors all four years of high school and was a member of the National Honor Society. Choate spent two years as a member of Xavier's equestrian team. She was on the National Council for Youth Leadership.
Coach White: "Elle will be a freshman middle for us this coming year. We are looking forward to having her high contact point on her approach and her high volleyball IQ in the middle position. She is coming from playing with a very high level club team this spring and we know that will be very helpful this fall."
Sadie Davis, Outside Hitter/Libero/Right Side Hitter, 5-10, Fort Myers, Fla. (Fort Myers)
Davis was the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Class 7A Volleyball Player of the Year for District 18 out of Fort Myers High School. She was All-Area second team in 2016, while also earning a spot on the All-Conference and All-Tournament teams, as well as earning the team's Coaches Award. Davis was an AP Scholar at Fort Myers and was a member of the National Honor Society, Rho Kappa and Mu Alpha Theta.
Coach White: "Sadie is a well-rounded six rotation outside/libero. She will most likely be a great contender for the OH/DS position this fall. Sadie is a true competitor and she comes from an incredibly strong high school program that I feel will truly benefit our team. Her strengths really lie in her volleyball IQ offensively and her consistency defensively."
Bree Kelly, Right Side Hitter, 6-0, Spartanburg, S.C. (Spartanburg Day)
Kelly was named to the SCISA Region II-2A All-Region team with 221 kills, 356 digs, 16 blocks and 31 service aces as a senior at Spartanburg Day School. She was a two-time All-District selection at Washington High School in Pensacola, Fla., and was also a regional champion in the high jump at Spartanburg Day. Kelly was a member of the Rho Kappa Honor Society and the Literary Honor Society while making the A/B honor roll.
Coach White: "Bree is going to be a right side/outside for us this coming fall. She is an extremely athletic player with a high vertical and is very strong offensively. Bree has a lot of energy when she is out on the court and I believe that will be a great contribution to our team this fall."
Kaitlyn Krafka, Outside Hitter, 5-10, Kyle, Texas (Hays)
Krafka led Hays High School in kills as a senior and was the District 25-6A MVP. She was a three-time First-Team All-District selection, an All-State performer and was named to the All-Central Texas Volleyball Team. Krafka was a two-time Faulein Fest All-Tournament player and a three-time Rebel Bash All-Tournament selection. She made Academic All-District all four years of high school and was a TVCA Academic All-State selection as a senior.
Coach White: "Kaitlyn is a six rotation outside. She has a very commanding presence on the court. She has many shots in her offensive arsenal and defensively she is a hustler. Kaitlyn makes a big impact when she is on the floor and she is going to bring much needed consistency to the outside position."
Melissa Luther, Defensive Specialist, 5-7, Aiken, S.C. (Fox Creek)
Luther was an All-State player and team MVP as a senior at Fox Creek High School. She was also a two-time All-Region selection. A three-sport athlete, Luther was also the team MVP and All-Region performer in cross country and basketball, earning All-State honors in basketball. She was a member of the Beta Club, the National Honor Society and the Silver Fox Academy. Luther twice made the A/B honor roll at Fox Creek.
Coach White: "Melissa will be a libero/DS for us this fall. She brings a lot of energy and heart to the court. Whenever you watch her play she is very animated and so committed. Melissa will help bring a lot of consistency to our defensive and serve receive game."
Madilyn Reed, Setter, 5-10, Graniteville, S.C. (Midland Valley)
Reed was a North-South All-Star and Class AAAA All-State selection after helping lead Midland Valley High School to the state playoffs as a senior. She was the Region IV Player of the Year and the Aiken Prep Sports Volleyball Player of the Year. Reed was named to the Under Armour All-American watch list. She was the president of the National Honor Society and participated in Palmetto Girls State. Reed was also Midland Valley's Student of the Year.
Coach White: "Madi is going to be a setter for us this coming fall. Her high volleyball IQ is going to be such a strength for us. As a setter she is able to command the court with confidence and consistency. Madi will be able to bring a fast paced competitive offense to our program. Her high energy level will be great addition to our team."
Kyra Ross, Outside Hitter, 5-7, Jacksonville, Fla. (Daytona State)
Ross spent the last two seasons at Daytona State College, where she helped lead the Falcons to 39 wins in two years. She ranked third on the team in kills per set last season, notching 169 kills on the year. Ross was named to the All-Academic Team and made the Dean's List twice. She played high school ball at University Christian.
Coach White: "Kyra is a six rotation outside/right side. She is going to bring a lot of experience to those positions coming from a strong junior college program where she has had a lot of accomplishments. Kyra has an extremely high vertical that plays a big role in her success in the front row and She will help to bring some consistency to our pin positions."
Cassie Runyon, Outside Hitter, 5-10, Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Myrtle Beach)
Runyon led Myrtle Beach High School to a 4A State Championship as a senior and was named an All-State player. She was chosen to the North-South 5A/4A All-Stars and earned All-Region honors. Runyon was a member of the Honors Society. In the state championship win over Pickens, Runyon recorded 19 kills for the Lady Seahawks.
Coach White: "Cassie is a six rotation outside. She has a very heavy arm swing that can be deadly if you are in her way. Cassie has a very commanding presence on the court no matter if she is in the front or the back row. Her high school team won state this year so she knows how to compete at a high level."