PUHI — L. Shannon Graves, the Island School Head of School, said there are 429,632 high school kids involved with volleyball, according to NCAA numbers.
Of that total, just 1.1 percent continue from high school to Division 2 volleyball.
To watch Island School senior Ashley Meecham become one of the 1.1 percent is very satisfying, Graves said.
Graves was among the audience of supporters who witnessed the Voyagers girls volleyball player put the ink to the Letter of Intent to play volleyball for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California.
“I did research on interior design programs,” Ashley said. “They have one of the best in the state.”
Aspiring to study interior design, Ashley said she will play Division 2 volleyball for the Art U Urban Knights as well.
“I could play Division 1,” Ashley said. “But I’m studying interior design and the Academy of Art has a pretty good program. If I go out for Division 2, I’ll probably get more playing time than if I tried for Division 1.”
Ashley, finishing her senior year as an outside hitter for the Voyagers, picked up 261 kills, 16 blocks, 24 aces, and a whopping 255 digs during her year’s tenure on the courts, finishing as a Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation All-Star.
“No question,” said Darrick Peleras, the Voyagers head coach. “She is the best 6-rotation player in the KIF. She did it all.”
Peleras said he started coaching Ashley from when she was in the third and fourth grades.
“From that time, I always knew she had the potential of being a good volleyball player,” Peleras said. “When I accepted this position at Island School, Ashley was on the team. She was one of the first players I coached when I started coaching, and to have her on the team during her senior year was special. Thank you, Ashley.”
Joshua Meecham, Ashley’s father, said it wasn’t until she was in the seventh, or eighth grade when she realized she could attend college by playing volleyball.
“Colleges, many of them big names, started calling when I was in the ninth grade,” Ashley said. “But by the time I became a senior, when I started sending out inquiries, there was hardly anyone responding. The Academy was one of the few that even answered my emails.”
Ashley credits her mother, Anna Meecham, for getting her started in volleyball.
“She made me play volleyball,” Ashley said. “And she kept me playing. I used to play volleyball until I started crying.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island