Jaysa Wichers didn’t start to envision herself as a future college volleyball player until about midway through her high school career at Hays High.
But once playing in college seemed more and more like a possibility, Wichers made the necessary strides to make it a reality.
Her goal officially came to fruition on Thursday with Wichers signing a letter of intent with Coffeyville Community College.
Wichers, also a standout softball player for the Indians, said her passion for volleyball continued to grow during her high school career.
“As I child, I had always loved softball, but during high school I learned to love volleyball more, because I was with all my close friends,” Wichers said. “I still love softball too.”
Wichers said she started seriously thinking about playing college volleyball about midway through her junior season. Her belief that she should could play at the next level was reinforced over the summer last year when Coffeyville coach Delice Downing, who has led the Ravens to back-to-back NJCAA Division II national championships, started to show interest.
“Last summer when I went to a showcase that’s when I met coach D,” Wichers said. “And I was like, ‘I can really do this.’ ”
Wichers, a right-side hitter, played a key role in the Indians' 20-10 season in 2018.
“It’s always nice to see when they want to go on to that next level,” Hays High coach Christin Nunnery said. “I don’t know that Jaysa was ever one at the beginning that thought she could go to that next level, but I want to say after like her sophomore year, it was kind of a reality that was an option for her. She continued to work hard, and her hard work paid off.
“Jaysa’s a player that every coach wants,” Nunnery added. “You will see her get more excited for everybody else than herself when there’s success. Works hard, gives 100 percent every time she steps on the court.”
Nunnery said Wichers made significant improvements in timing and consistency with her hitting.
“That’s probably the hardest part for a hitter, especially because we moved her from middle to the right side," she said. "Great blocker; that was kind of our strength in having her on the right side. Then her timing had to kind of change to a little higher sets and that kind of stuff. Her and her setters just clicked this year."
Downing has turned the Red Ravens in a national power. Coffeyville went 40-3 last season to repeat as national champs.
“It’s awesome,” Wichers said. “I just can’t wait to get there and I can’t wait to help out with the team and continue to be successful."
Wichers said she tried not to get overly stressed by the recruiting process.
“I just tried to enjoy it,” Wichers said. “And my parents were like, ‘Even if you don’t want to go, that’s all right.’ I knew I had options, and when I went to Coffeyville I knew that was the one.
“When I went on my visit the campus was really close together, and that was great, not having to travel far,” she said. “When I went, it just felt like home.”
Wichers said it's a relief to have her college plans finalized.
“I’m way more relaxed and I’m excited for next year,” she said.