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Paola senior Mikayla Whit signs a national letter of intent to play volleyball at Northwestern Oklahoma State. Pictured with Mikayla are (in front) her parents Janea and Rob; (back row) Paola Lady Panthers coach Kirby Kenny.

PAOLA — Senior Mikayla White is headed to Northwestern Oklahoma State University on a volleyball scholarship.

Surrounded by friends and family, White signed a national letter of intent to play volleyball for the Rangers during a signing ceremony held at the Paola High School commons area Monday, Nov. 29.

White started playing volleyball in the Lake Miola League when she was in fifth grade.

She went on to play club volleyball with the Junior Slammer in sixth grade, played with the Kansas City Fire and went back to the Junior Slammers.

White was an All-Frontier League and All-Tri-County Spotlight performer for the Paola, helping lead the Lady Panthers to a 20-victory season and the Class 4A substate championship match.

To have the chance to play collegiate volleyball is more than a dream come true, White said.

“I really never thought I would come this far in volleyball, especially starting so young,” White said. “I just really playing volleyball. It has definitely been my favorite sport throughout my whole life.”

One trip to Northwestern Oklahoma State University was all it took for White to know this was where she belonged.

“Visiting there, it really just felt like somewhere I could fit in,” she said. “I met some really nice people, meeting the coaches and all of the girls. It just felt like home.”

White, a setter and hitter for the Paola Lady Panthers, was recruited to run the offense at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. She could also see some action at right side hitter.

Lady Panther coach Kirby Kenny said it was an exciting day White and the program.

I” am always proud when we have a player continue their career at the collegiate level,” Kenny said. “I have had the pleasure of coaching Mikayla since her freshman year and know first-hand just how hard she has worked for this.

“Mikayla has been a three-year letter winner, starting setter and two-year varsity captain for our program,” Kenny said. “Mikayla is the type of leader that others want to follow. She is encouraging on the court, but also holds her teammates accountable and leads by example. I have no doubt that she will bring those qualities and her skill on the court to Northwest Oklahoma State University and have a successful career as a Ranger there.”

White was a four-year member of the Paola Lady Panther volleyball team, joining the same year coach Kenny joined the program.

“It was great being in the program all four years with coach Kenny,” White said. “I think we both kind of grew over that time, I grew as a player and she grew as a coach.”

White plans on majoring in health and sports science with a minor in kinesiology.

Mikayla is the daughter of Rob and Janea White.

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or gene.morris@miconews.com.

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