Werner proves phenomenalPublished 11:57pm Saturday, November 23, 2013
Being a key part of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s state champion girls’ volleyball team is not the only major accomplishment junior Kaitlin Werner has under her belt.
For excellent play and exceptional character while competing with the Williamsburg Volleyball Club, she has been named to the 2013 American Volleyball Coaches Association Phenom List.
She was nominated for consideration by her WVC coaches Greg Koon and Tom Stephenson.
Williamsburg Volleyball Club director and president Susanne Esch said the club officials think about the Phenom List every year and consider who in the club could be a candidate. Werner was the first one who came to mind from a team that earned a bid to compete nationally.
“It was a talented team, but she was the one with the most drive,” Esch said. That drive was to take volleyball to another level.
But there was more to it than that.
“She’s talented volleyball-wise clearly, but she’s also a very kind person,” Esch said. “For someone of such talent, she’s very humble.”
Werner was excited to be recognized for her play in a sport she has worked at for nearly half her lifetime.
“It’s truly an honor,” she said.
As a result of making the Phenom List, Werner will be headed to Seattle for the AVCA Phenom College Preparatory Program, taking place Dec. 19-22.
At this event, Werner will get an idea of what to expect with recruiting, and she will have the opportunity to be evaluated by over 200 college coaches in attendance.
Does that make her nervous? “A little bit,” Werner said. “I’m more excited.”
Participants also have a chance to to attend the National Collegiate Athletic Association women’s volleyball semi-final and championship matches.
At age 13, Werner remembers attending a camp at Pennsylvania State University and being in awe of the players.
“A few years ago, I was that little kid, and now it’s getting close to being my time to play at the college level,” she said.
Werner also has received two separate invitations to train with USA Volleyball. She was chosen by a panel of coaches based on her play in USA Volleyball High Performance Tryouts held at locations where her club team played.
In accepting the invitation, Werner has gone to USA Volleyball headquarters in Colorado Springs, Co.
Esch confirmed it is a big deal to be invited to Colorado. She said it is intense training, but “it’s fantastic for the girls, and it’s a really huge honor.”
Werner was excited by the experience of being trained the same way the USA team gets trained.
“It’s really cool to know that you’re being trained by the best,” she said.
She also appreciated the practical nature of the lessons learned there.
“They really teach things that stick with you throughout your career,” she said.
As a result of receiving the invitations and participating, she is officially in the Olympic pipeline.
“It is very low on the line, but it is pretty exciting,” she said.
Meanwhile, her positioning among college hopefuls has only improved since NSA’s state championship win.
“That was really exciting to slap on the résumé,” she said.