CHEROKEE, KAN. – In junior high, Southeast senior Kalyn Bitner did not think she would play college volleyball. On Thursday, she signed to play for Neosho County Community College in Chanute.
A signing ceremony was held Thursday December 10 for Bitner in front of her fellow Southeast High School students.
“When I was in 7th and 8th grade I didn’t think I was going to play college volleyball – I was horrible – but you get better if you keep working hard,” Bitner said.
Nearly always the tallest girl on the court, it took time and practice for the now six foot tall Bitner to get her coordination and develop the skills to be successful. SHS Volleyball Coach Maya White said Bitner steadily became a central figure in the front line for the Lady Lancers. This season, Bitner was named 2nd Team All-CNC and had 195 Total Kills, 86 Total Blocks – 31 of those were Solo, and 21 Serving Aces. Bitner also set a new school record for Career Total Blocks, with 201.
“I’ve had the opportunity to coach Kalyn for three years on the varsity team but I’ve also seen Kalyn grow as a player since junior high when she was coming to camps,” said Coach White. “So, it’s pretty neat seeing her evolve as a player and develop coordination and get better. It’s exciting to see her to be able to further her career in volleyball at the collegiate level and I think she’ll do great at Neosho. She is not at her peak and she will continue to do great things for them as well.”
“For all of you who have a passion for anything, whether it’s sports, drag racing, dance, or whatever it is, there’s a lot of time that goes into becoming good at it, and Kalyn with volleyball is no different – it takes time,” Principal Larry Malle said. “It takes time outside the season which she has put in and we are very happy for her.”
In addition to being on the volleyball, basketball and track teams, Bitner is involved in nearly student organization at SHS: FBLA, FFA, KAYS, National Honor Society, the Spirit Shack, and TSA.
“You can always do more so don’t quit,” Bitner said. “Sometimes it’s hard to balance everything but usually it works out. You just have work hard and have drive.”
“It’s always a great time to see one of your students have an opportunity to go beyond high school,” Principal Malle said. “As an old volleyball coach I always look forward to these (signings) and as a principal you always look forward to seeing people move on. I know that her parents are proud of her and happy for her as well and we’re excited for her.”
On hand for the signing ceremony on Thursday were her mother and father, Christine and Eric Bitner, her sisters, Korie, Katie and Kalle, and her niece, Marley Mordica.