Jenna Gray was perhaps most overwhelmed in mid-November, when she sat at a table in the small, cozy library at St. James Academy preparing to sign her college letter of intent.
Gray, The Star’s All-Metro volleyball player of the year, was about to sign to continue her volleyball career at Stanford University. Gray reflected on her four years with the St. James volleyball program.
She thought about her three state championships, including the fall season’s Kansas Class 5A state title. She helped the Thunder to a second-place finish at state the only time she wasn’t part of a state champion team.
She pondered being selected a finalist for the Evelyn Gates Award, given to the Kansas City City area’s top volleyball player by Kansas City-area high school coaches. She thought about her recognition as the Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year, awarded to her for her efforts on and off the court.
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That signing day it all came to the forefront for Gray as she sat in front of friends and family. She couldn’t have scripted it any better.
“There is no other way I would have wanted to go out,” Gray said. “It was the perfect ending to the high school career that I have had.”
Gray was a member of a St. James Academy volleyball team that finished with a 46-2 record during the fall season. The Thunder capped it with a 25-16, 25-7 victory over St. Thomas Aquinas in the state championship match.
In 100 sets, Gray accumulated 843 assists, 51 aces, 280 digs and 307 kills for the Thunder. She also was voted the Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association Class 5A Co-Player of the Year.
The Star’s All-Metro volleyball team
Orie Agbaji, Oak Park, senior. Agbaji, the Evelyn Gates Award winner, had 364 kills (5.6 per set), 80 blocks and 250 digs. She is ranked as the fourth-best senior recruit in the nation and has signed with Texas.
Audriana Fitzmorris, St. James Academy, senior. Fitzmorris, the USA Today National Player of the Year, helped lead the Thunder to the Kansas Class 5A state title. She had 639 kills and 259 digs as an outside hitter. She will play at Stanford.
Jenna Gray, St. James Academy, senior. The Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year had 843 assists, 280 digs and 307 kills as a setter for the Thunder. She was a finalist for the Evelyn Gates Award and helped the Thunder to a 46-2 record.
Alexis Hart, Truman, senior. The Under Armour All-American had 341 kills, 46 aces and 154 digs while playing outside hitter. She will attend Minnesota on a full-ride scholarship.
Regan Pittman, St. Thomas Aquinas, senior. The Eastern Kansas League most valuable player led the Saints to a runner-up finish in Kansas Class 5A, with 472 kills and 159 blocks in 94 sets as a middle blocker. She will attend Minnesota.
Alicia Starr, Blue Springs, senior. The outside hitter tallied 403 kills, 240 assists and 191 digs for the Suburban Gold Conference champion Wildcats. She will play at South Carolina.