Photography by Pete Galarneau, Jr.
Buckhannon, W.Va. -- 2014 Freshman Class
The Bobcats are looking forward to another successful season in 2014 with the help of 10 new freshman teammates. The first to commit to the Wesleyan team was Parkersburg's own, Kayleigh Rexroad.. Kayleigh will graduate from Parkersburg South High School this May with an extremely impressive academic, athletic, and musical resume. As a student, she was a 2-year Academic Letter Winner as well as a member of the OVAC Academic Team. Athletically, she was a tri-athlete, excelling in volleyball, basketball, and track and field. As a volleyball player, Kayleigh served as her senior team captain and was awarded First Team all OVAC, First Team TRAC, First Team WVSSAC All-State, TRAC Player of the Year, and participated in the OVAC All-Star Match.. The Wesleyan coaching staff looks forward to Kayleigh's continuing academic, athletic, and musical success this fall.
Wesleyan will also be welcoming Buckhannon's own, Leah Blend. Graduating from Buckhannon-Upshur High School, she also displays a very impressive academic and athletic resume. Involved in multiple clubs, Leah was an honor roll student and member of the National Honor Society. As a volleyball player, she was awarded 1st Team Big Ten for 2013-2014, 1st Team All-State in 2013, she received recognition as the North South Volleyball All Star, and was the OVR's High Performance player. At Wesleyan, Leah "hopes to make lifelong friends and make the most of her educational and athletic career". She was drawn in by the "close-knit family" of the Bobcat team and hopes to "make lifelong friends and the most of [her] educational and athletic career". The coaching staff looks forward to seeing Leah's achievements as a middle blocker.
Coach Hinton on Leah: Leah Blend is a great pick up for Wesleyan volleyball; she reminds me of former BUHS standout Maria (Broslawsky) Potter. She brings athleticism, work ethic and determination. She has a great vertical and with her agility and speed she will be a force to be reckoned. Her freshman campaign, she'll challenge those around her and will make us better in practice and in matches. Leah adds a ton of depth to our front line and once she catches up with the collegiate pace, there will be no stopping Leah. With her work ethic and natural abilities, Leah is going to turn heads during her four years at Wesleyan.
In addition, the Bobcats will be welcoming Megan Rae Cook to their fall roster. Megan is from Petersburg, West Virginia and is graduating with an array of accomplishments from Petersburg High School. Academically, Megan received the Presidential Award as well as the Health Careers Club Certificate. She also had perfect attendance and was named Vice President of the National Honor Society. As a three sport athlete, Megan lettered in volleyball all four years of high school and was a successful basketball and softball player. She was drawn to Wesleyan to pursue a degree in Communications and she aspires to become a speech therapist. The coaching staff and team are excited to have such a versatile athlete as a part of their program.
Coach Hinton on Megan: Megan Cook is going to be a great utility player for us and once we find her true position, she is going to excel at her role and really help us out. She is competitive by nature and extremely hard working. She was a three sport athlete and dominated in each sport with the opportunities to compete at the collegiate level in all three. We are so happy she choose to play volleyball for her next four years. With a few adjustments and learning under the upperclassmen, Megan will adapt quickly and be a great addition to the Wesleyan volleyball family.
The Bobcats will also welcome another local, Lindsey Wagoner. Lindsey intends on studying Athletic Training at Wesleyan. This honor roll student was a member of the Buckhannon Upshur High School volleyball team, their softball team, and was a member of the Teen Institute, Interact, and National Honor Society. As a volleyball player, she was awarded Second Team All Conference North/South All Star. Her favorite aspect of her visit to campus was meeting the players. The coaching staff is happy to have Lindsey as a member of the team and is excited so see her grow as a player.
Coach Hinton on Lindsey: Lindsey Wagoner is adding to our setter depth for the 2014 season and each year after that. Lindsey has a high IQ and will learn quickly under our two returning setters. She runs a nice offense to the outside pin and will adjust quickly to our offense with the middles and right sides. Lindsey is extremely competitive and athletic being a two sport athlete (softball and volleyball). When watching Lindsey, she really pays attention to the game and picks up things just by observing, a huge benefit is for us with the setter position.
Hannah King will also be joining the Wesleyan team this fall. Hannah is a middle hitter that is graduating from Herbert Hoover High School with an impressive resume. She is a National Honor Society member that participated in Hoover volleyball all four years, was a member of the basketball team for three years, participated in the Kanawha Volleyball Club for two years, and was apart of the Hoover Self Defense Club. Her lengthy list of volleyball honors include earning First Team All State, All-Tournament All-State, State Runner Up, First Team All Kanawha Valley Conference, AA Region 4 Championship, and North/South All Star. The Wesleyan team and coaching staff are excited to welcome Hannah to their squad.
Coach Hinton on Hannah: Hannah King was a perfect fit for Wesleyan volleyball. She brings in the whole package and will look to compete for playing time right away. We were lucky to grab Hannah from a few other competing schools in the state; she has such power in her swing along with a whip of an arm. Hannah moves laterally extremely well and is one of the most aggressive players at the net that we have seen in a long time. Hannah is a true competitor and has shown us that her competitive nature is non-stop. Hannah has all of the makings to break records during her tenure at Wesleyan and we are going to push her to get there.
Another new Bobcat is Morgantown Christian Academy graduate, Leah Christine Casarano. Leah hopes to pursue a degree in Elementary Education and was drawn to Wesleyan by the friendliness and cohesion of the team. She served as the team captain and was named All-State in high school volleyball. She also participated in track, 4-H, and yearbook. At Wesleyan, Leah hopes to "get a good education and work with children". She left Morgantown Christian as the valedictorian of her class and the coaching staff is looking forward to seeing her succeed both athletically and academically.
Coach Hinton on Leah: Leah Cassarano was a setter in high school but we think she is going really excel as a defensive specialist, especially from the right back position. She is comes from hard work and dedication and will be a great asset to our already hard working returners. Leah will get some repetition with the setters and as a right back defensive specialist. She has a tough serve and with a few modifications, Leah will fit our system nicely. Not only is Leah a great person for our program, but she's a wonderful addition to the Wesleyan community.
Also joining the team is Elesia Quinn Saunders. This graduate of Robert C. Byrd High School was an honor roll student that participated in volleyball, basketball, softball, was apart of the Homecoming Committee, Show Choir, and Prom Court. Her volleyball accomplishments include: Big Ten First Team in 2012 and 2013, All Tournament Team in 2012, Athlete of the Week in 2011, 2012, and 2013, All State Second Team in 2013, and was a participant in the North and South Games in 2014. Quinn plans to pursue a degree in Biology and "make great grades, meet new people, enjoy volleyball and graduate so [she] can go on to the next level to accomplish [her] dream to be a veterinarian. The coaching staff is excited to see Quinn's great work ethic pay off both on the court and in the classroom.
Coach Hinton on Quinn: Quinn Saunders will see action as a setter; she ran a great offense for her high school last fall and we are going to look for Quinn's help to run our offense at Wesleyan. What sparked our interest most about Quinn is her commitment to volleyball and training in the off season. She pushes herself and enlists additional help to make her better in each and every aspect of the game. With a quickening of her hands, Quinn is going to push the returning setters and will compete for reps day in and day out. Her commitment and overall positive contagious attitude is going to make her a great Wesleyan athlete.
Joining the team from Covington, VA is Allyson Cutlip. Allyson is a Bath County High School graduate that was a volleyball and softball player, as well as a member of the 4-H Club and Yearbook staff. She was on the honor roll in 2013 as well as 2014 and received many athletic honors. These volleyball honors include: 2011 State Champion, First Team All Area 2012 and 2013, First Team All Conference, and Second Team All Area Region. Allyson intends on studying Biology and expressed her choice to attend Wesleyan saying: "I fell in love with the campus the first time I visited. Everyone, the staff, and the students were so nice and welcoming! I knew it was where I needed to be!" The staff and team are equally as excited to have Allyson as apart of their 2014 roster.
Coach Hinton on Allyson: Allyson Cutlip helps add depth to our already strong defensive specialist position. She is a great combination of a few returners already on Wesleyan's team; she brings quickness and speed as well as moves extremely well forward and backwards. Allyson is extremely fit and will fit in nicely with the work ethic the returners have already demonstrated. Her personality and overall positivity will help keep up our already great team chemistry. We are going to look for Allyson to get reps out of left back and middle back. She is quick to cover corner to corner and be our last line of defense.
The Wesleyan team is also excited to welcome Deja Deal. This Thomas Stone High School graduate was awarded principle honors as well as honor roll status and was a member of the National Honors Society. Deja was a cheerleader and member of the Key Club throughout high school. She was drawn to Wesleyan because it "offered [her] more options and more opportunities". She intends on pursuing a Nursing degree while pursuing volleyball to ultimately reach her goal of "graduating college, maintaining a good degree, meeting new friends, buying a house, and being successful". The coaching staff is excited to see Deja's academic and athletic successes continue into her college career.
Coach Hinton on Deja: Deja Deal is a great pick up for not only Wesleyan volleyball, West Virginia Wesleyan College in general. Deja does a great job responding quickly to those around her and we are going to look for her to do that during her four years at Wesleyan. She is an athlete and is going to be a dual sport contributor (playing lacrosse) at Wesleyan. We are going to have Deja play a variety of positions until we find the perfect spot for her. With her athletic ability and dedication, we see Deja adapting to any position on the floor given to her. She has a bubbly personality that fits in nicely with our current team.
The Bobcats will also be joined by Katarina Pesic Vidic. Katarina is from Belgrade, Serbia and graduated from the G.W. Carver Center for Arts and Technology. She was a member of the volleyball and softball teams, she was a cheerleader, and a member of National Honors Society as well as the Art Honors Society. Katarina will be pursuing a degree in sports management. She chose Wesleyan because her "friends who attend Wesleyan recommended that I visit and I fell in love with the campus and atmosphere". She was drawn to the Wesleyan team's sprit and hopes to "grow academically, and also as an athlete". She "would love to meet interesting people and get involved in campus life". The coaching staff is thrilled to add such a passionate individual to their roster.
Coach Hinton on Katarina: Katarina Vidic is a utility player and can easily transition to a defensive role or a setting position. Katarina has a huge heart and has works extremely hard for her goals. She is a go-getter and is extremely determined to accomplish what she wants out of volleyball, academics, and life in general. Katarina is quick and can cover a lot of ground in the back row. Her quick reflexes and food speed will make it difficult for opponents to score. With her setting experience, Katarina sees the floor very well and with a few adjustments to her setting height, she'll compete with the other setters on the squad.
Wrapping up the 2014 roster is Newark High School graduate, Mia Hammack. Mia plans to pursue physical therapy and was drawn to Wesleyan because of the "beautiful campus" and because her future teammates are "super friendly and caring!" As a volleyball player, Mia has been awarded many accolades including the OCC 2012 Honorable Mention, and was 1st Team OCC in 2013. She plans to "further her education and continue her volleyball career" while at Wesleyan. The coaching staff and team are excited to add such a versatile front row player to their roster and cannot wait to see what she can accomplish both athletically and academically.
Coach Hinton on Mia: Mia Hammack adds huge depth to our front line. She has a very dominating presence at the net with her height and her strength. Mia is going to challenge our outsides and put up a nice block against the right side attack. We love Mia's high contact (especially with her height) and cross court shot. With a little work on the line attack, Mia is going to be a huge force in practice and against opponents in matches. Mia has so much going for her over the next four years; she works hard and doesn't take anything for granted. She will push herself continuously every day for her four year career at Wesleyan.
Overall Coach Hinton says: Overall, this class brings in a great balance to our already hardworking and dedicated volleyball program. The returners worked extremely hard this post season and are bringing back a dedicated and dominating force in the Mountain East Conference. With the addition of these 11 young ladies, we feel this incoming class is a nice balance and brings the extra boost we need to reach our goals and expectations for the fall. This class brings in a strong grade point average, and great all-around student-athletes something that we take pride in as a representation of Wesleyan, its athletic department and its volleyball program. These young ladies will leave a lasting impression on not only the volleyball team, but the athletic department, the Wesleyan community and the Buckhannon town.