BY COLTEN STEELE WEEKLY REPORTER
O’FALLON – Standouts on the volleyball court, Mackenzie Koester and Luke Meidel plan to further their sports careers at the next level.
Mackenzie Koester signed her letter of intent to play at McKendree University next year. Aside from her plans on the court, Koester will be studying Sports Management.
Koester said, “I decided to commit to McKendree because I really like the coaches, the team, and how close everyone is. I am also in love with the campus.”
Mackenzie was a right side hitter. She complimented her high school coach, Melissa Massey, and her experience playing volleyball at the high school level saying, “Coach Massey has taught me so many things about the game and has really shaped me into the player I am today. Hearing her talk about how amazing it was to play in college really motivated me to work hard so that I could have that experience too.”
When asked about the team and her visit at McKendree, Koester said, “The coaches and players at McKendree are extremely nice and close. When I got to meet them on my visit, I knew right away that I liked the program and everyone involved and that this was where I wanted to be for the next four years.”
As Koester was signing her letter of intent, it was a moment that she will forever remember,
“Today was such an amazing experience because, as an athlete, you work so hard throughout your athletic career so that you have the chance to sign and play in college. For it to finally happen for me was just an unbelievable moment that I will never forget. I feel so blessed that I am able to experience it and that my team and coaches were there to share the experience with me,” said Koester.
The 6’2” Southwestern Conference standout Luke Meidel will attend The Ohio State University to play on the men’s volleyball team. Meidel played outside hitter for the O’Fallon Panthers, and is currently playing Libero for his club team in St. Louis, High Performance. Luke mentioned that he is currently playing Libero on his club team in preparation for Ohio State.
“I’ve always played outside hitter up to this point, but I’ll be playing libero in college so I’m playing it for club to become more experienced,” said Meidel.
Not only is Meidel furthering his athletic career, but he plans to also excel off the court.
“I plan on majoring in Biochemistry. I think. That leaves me the option to eventually pursue oncology at the graduate or doctorate level, which is where I think I’ll end up, or head for a more lab-based job if I feel that would be more fitting,” said Meidel.
Meidel couldn’t contain his excitement about attending Ohio State saying, “I’m super excited to just be going there. I think I’m most looking forward to playing for such a strong and competitive program. Ohio State was honestly my first and only choice at the time they called me. Eventually, it worked out perfectly and they offered me a roster spot.” The Buckeyes just won the National Championship last season, and also won in 2011 as well.
Luke didn’t hesitate to compliment his high school coach, Katelyn Hagarty, saying, “Coach Hagarty has taught me so much. She was a huge part of me gaining confidence in myself and improving my mental game, as well as teaching me consistency and mechanics that would help me in every part of my game. I talked with her about college sometimes, and she helped me convince myself that I could do it and supported me throughout my process. The relationship we’ve formed over the years has helped me grow both as a player and as a person in general.”
Meidel signed on to The Ohio State University Monday after school saying, “Signing today felt amazing. Knowing that I’m one step closer to being in Columbus feels great, and having my family, coaches, and friends around me was cool and also reminded me how blessed and thankful I am to have the opportunity and support to be where I am.”