Schmeidler, Staab ink letters at HHS

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

One coach had her first athlete sign a national letter of intent to play in college.

"It's a great feeling, it's my first one as a head coach, and very excited about it," Hays High School volleyball coach Sarah Nuss said.

Senior setter Sidney Schmeidler signed with Kansas Wesleyan University on Thursday at the school cafeteria.

The other coach has had more than a few athletes sign in years past in both football and track.

On Thursday, it was senior distance runner Tanner Staab who signed on the dotted line to run for Fort Hays State University next year.

"He's been part of our core 800, where we try to really put our leadership at, where we establish our program at is the 800," HHS coach Ryan Cornelsen said. "He's been right there with the top group in that race."

Staab was part of the gold medal-winning 3,200-relay at the Class 5A State Championships last spring. All four members of that relay return this season, as they seek another state title.

"It's kind of a confidence-booster to go out and run -- you know you have competition -- (but) to be the best is kind of a nice thing," Staab said.

Being the best takes extra effort.

"He works hard every day," Cornelsen said. "He is dedicated, he runs on the weekends, he does the morning runs.

"So he's been a great leader for us and a great example for what it takes to go to the next level in track," Cornelsen added.

Staab, also an all-WAC soccer player, considered that sport before deciding on track. He said Cornelsen is a great motivator.

"He pushes you a lot harder, focuses on your events," than past HHS coaches, Staab said. "He tries to pump you up, get ready for your race."

The HHS volleyball team improved from 13-20 the last two seasons to 16-17 this year.

"I had so much fun with the girls," at HHS, Schmeidler said. "Everybody at practice, it's a team effort. ... I hope that's what I can get out of college, too."

Kansas Wesleyan coach Fred Aubuchon said Schmeidler is a good fit for his program.

"I think she's going to develop well in our program," Aubuchon said. "She'll come in first year, more than likely play JV as a freshman. But I think she has the ability to compete at a higher level right away.

"Just being a setter is a difficult thing in college ...," he added. "Our hope is for her to learn how to play the collegiate game, and our style of play, and really give her lots of instruction."

Schmeidler will do whatever it takes to win, Nuss said.

"Sidney is a great player," Nuss said. "She wants to win, plays to win. It doesn't matter what she's got to do to win, she's going to do her best."

Schmeidler, a setter who is a two-time all-WAC pick, was noticed by KWU's assistant coach at a showcase in Olathe in December.

Coming off an appearance in the NAIA national tournament this season, the Coyotes were looking to add a setter. It came down to Schmeidler and another recruit. Aubuchon chose the 5-foot-6 Schmeidler, who had more than 400 assists this season.

"I just said wow," Schmeidler said.

"This is it, I'm going to play."