Wheatland senior commits to play for Eastern Wyoming

Mark DeLap/PC Record-Times Kendall Schaffner has made a commitment to attend Eastern Wyoming College next year. Schaffner has overcome great adversity with injuries but still managed to receive all-state honors in the two years that she played volleyball at Wheatland High School.

WHEATLAND – Kendall Schaffner, a Wheatland High School senior, has overcome what has been career-ending injuries for some athletes, but her love for volleyball has driven her to press on and recently has committed to attend Eastern Wyoming College in hopes of continuing her volleyball career.

Schaffner has overcome great adversity with injuries but still managed to receive all-state honors in the two years that she played volleyball as a Lady Bulldog.

“I decided on EWC because I really liked the coach, the girls I met and it’s not too far from home,” Schaffner said. “Although I haven’t had a chance to play with them yet, I am excited at the idea of doing something new at a new place.”

According to Schaffner, she will be heading to school sometime in late July or early August. Until then, she plans on staying on the court for additional practice.

“I’ve been practicing the last month,” she said. “I’ve been practicing in Douglas with their club team.”

Schaffner who wants to major in physical therapy has much experience overcoming two major knee surgeries.

Schaffner accomplished what most would have given up on long ago. She had a determination and a grit on the court that was noticed by teammates and her coaches.

“Never underestimate Kendall,” WHS volleyball coach Sally Nichols said. “She has the highest volleyball IQ of any player I have worked with. She is extremely coachable and is like having an assistant coach on the court. She is able to relay any message to a “T” and discuss the best approach to score within seconds. I really am happy for Kendall, she has worked extremely hard, and to earn the 3A East Player of the Year, is definitely icing on the cake for her.”

She overcame two major surgeries and lost a complete volleyball season, not once, but twice in her high school career. Through the adversity, she was seen this year standing with her teammates holding a trophy that crowned them the third best volleyball team in the state competing in 3A competition.

As the dust cleared at the Wyoming Class 3A Volleyball State Championship, she not only held the 3A third place trophy, but was also named to the 3A Southeast All-Conference team, earned all-state honors and was chosen as the Wyoming 3A Player of the Year.

She missed two seasons of competition due to an initial knee reconstruction and another two years later. In the two years she was on the court, she was all-state twice, all-conference twice, Player of the Year once, and in just two years, she shattered five season records including digs per match at 16.8, digs per season – 623, digs for a career – 1,097, serve receive percentage per match – 95.4% and serve receive percentage for a season – 95.4%.

Not only did she break school records in two years’ time, but she did also it with a broken and repaired body.

Schaffner said she learned a lot in the years she had to watch rather than participate.

“I had to sit out for two years so that was hard, but gained a lot of other experience that way,” she said. “I learned how to lead from a different role off the court.”

Schaffner, who worked hard on her rehab and gained great success with her tenacity, speaks to those who may be facing injury and facing the temptation to give up.

“You just can’t give up,” she said. “If you want it bad enough and you love it more than anything, you can’t give up. Those were some of the hardest moments of my life, but I drew strength from the testimony of a BYU player who faced something similar. The greatest thing I took away from her testimony and what helped me was when she said, ‘Take one day at a time.’ And that’s what I did. I’ve been playing this game since I was in third grade and I just made up my mind, I’m never going to quit.”