As an athlete at South Slocan’s Mount Sentinel High School, Katie Wayling has done it all — well almost everything.
Moving from Stanley Humphries in Castlegar during her Grade 9 year the budding volleyball/basketball star made an immediate impact on the varsity girl’s teams.
During the four years at Mount Sentinel Wayling was part of a pair of provincial titles, both — B.C. High School A Girl’s Volleyball Championship in 2007 and B.C. High School A Girl’s Basketball crown in 2008— coming in the same school year.
Wayling, 18, achieved the rare feat while playing with older sister Kendra.
Something very rarely accomplished at the high school level, especially in the Kootenays.
Wayling also played for Team B.C. Volleyball squad in the summers of 2007 and 2008.
But athletics is not the only highlight of Wayling’s schooling.
In January of this year, the daughter of Rand and Christine Wayling was part of the Mount Sentinel School trip that was in Haiti during the earthquake.
Which was an event that definitely gave the 5’7” setter from Canada a different outlook on life.
So much so that Wayling has allowed very little moss to grow under her feet as she is now attending school in sunny Florida at Palm Beach State College, located 60 miles north of Miami in Lake Worth, Florida.
The Nelson Daily Sports Editor Bruce Fuhr caught up with Wayling prior to leading the mighty Panthers into the National Junior College Athletic Association Florida State Championships Women’s Volleyball Championships in Winter Haven.
The Panthers, 21-8, opened States with a five-set victory over Florida State College at Jacksonville.
However, Palm Beach State lost to top ranked Miami-Dade 3-1 and before being swept 3-0 in the rematch against Florida State College at Jacksonville.
By the way, the weather in West Palm Beach recently has been a balmy 26 C.
The Nelson Daily: Take me through the way you got to attend Palm Beach to play volleyball.
I look at life as one big adventure. As my grad year came to it’s last few months I started thinking more and more about how I could get out and live life to it’s fullest.
I began to realize all the opportunities that were right there in front of me so I set out to pursue one and it landed me here. I started by researching schools in areas that I would like to travel to. After emailing several different schools, I came across PBSC (Palm Beach State College). I contacted the coaches and after they reviewed my game footage they offered me the full ride scholarship.
How could I pass up the opportunity to not only play volleyball at the collegiate level, but also travel to a place I have never been before! I took the chance, packed my bags and hopped on a plane to Florida saying goodbye to everything familiar to me . . . and all I can say is I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
TND: How's the volleyball experience?
KW: Not only are my coaches very kind, but they make me see the game in ways I didn’t know existed. Running plays I have never ran before makes things new and exciting so I enjoy every opportunity I get to get better.
I feel as though I have become a much stronger setter since training here. I have a great time with all the girls on and off the court and have certainly made friendships that will continue down the road for many years to come.
This is the exact level I wanted to compete at so I am very content.
TND: Are you getting lots of time?
KW: We started the season running a 6-2. I would play three rotations, sit three rotations, then back in for three again and so on. About a month into the season we began running a 5-1 with me as the starting setter.
I have been getting plenty of playing time with the exception of a couple games that I was out due to a shoulder injury.
TND: Do you live on campus?
KW: The majority of student-athletes live in Emerald Lake’s apartments and town houses. It is a very nice complex surrounding a lake less than a mile off campus. I live in a two-story town house with three teammates.
The houses are very nice and spacious- LOVE having my own room.
TND: Did you think last year at this time, during Grade 12 season with the Cats, you'd be playing varsity volleyball in Florida?
KW: I had no idea where life was going to take me at that point.
TND: Did your time at Mount Sentinel prepare you for life outside the Kootenays?
KW: The months I spent with classmates, (the) teachers of Quest for Community, the things I experienced and life lessons I discovered in that time span have had more impact on shaping me into the person I am today than anything else in my life.
TND: And what about all those bus rides, tournaments and provincials as a member of the Wildcats?
KW: All of the great times and achievements that were had with (varsity volleyball coach) Joe (Moreira) and the Cats will never be forgotten.