Judy Kight has won seven state titles in 23 years as the Mead volleyball coach, and with eleven seniors on this year's squad, the Panthers look prime to make it eight. Mead also might have the strongest academic team in the state as nine of those eleven seniors qualify as Shining Stars.
"My name is Paige Montgomery, I'm a middle blocker, my GPA is 3.75."
"Mackenzie McPhee, I'm a right side, and I have a 3.98."
"Meghan Elmore, I'm a setter and I have a 4.0."
"Jonni Dorr, I'm a setter and I have a 3.8."
In sport, success can be contagious. For Mead, that holds true both on the court and in the classroom. "We have our priorities in line, we know what we have to do, we're disciplined and we get it done," says Taylor Ellingsen.
"We're in a lot of each others classes, so we're with each other all day and we never get tired of it, which is amazing, but we absolutely love each other," adds Natalie Kassa.
Nine shining stars make up this group of eleven seniors - one of the most unique that Judy Kight has ever had. "The job is easy because of who they are, you know," says Kight. " They really do have great character, they're intelligent, they're talented, and they're experienced in the game."
"The term family is really appropriate here, because we're all like sisters: love eacher other, we're all best friends," adds Sierra Crook. "So I think that's what makes us unique and also what gives us that edge."
An edge that's resulted in a perfect season for the Panthers, who realize they have a target on their back. "All these other teams are working really hard, every practice, trying to beat Mead so we need to prepare for that, and beat them," says
And as they prepare for state, the group of eleven, shares one common goal. Just ask Morgan Douglass. "All of us have been playing volleyball together since fifth grade so we have the big picture in mind and we want that state championship."