When Mia Swanegan arrived at Blue Springs South High School, she hoped to leave a legacy.
“When Mia says she's going to do something, she usually accomplishes it,” South volleyball coach Dave MacLean said when asked about The Examiner's 2013 Volleyball Player of the Year. “When I think of Mia, I think of one word – desire.
“In fact, we had a photo of her that was in The Examiner blown up and we put it up in our locker room. We have a one-word caption: DESIRE. That sums her up. There was a lot of great talent in the area with Lexi Hart over at Truman and Erin Bodenstab at Blue Springs and her teammate here at South, Alexa Armendariz, but I truly believe Mia is the player of the year.
“I am so pleased and honored that she got it.”
Swanegan led the Jaguars with 337 kills from the front row and had a .337 hitting percentage. She had 82 blocks, a 91 percent serve percentage and was named to the Missouri Volleyball Coaches Association’s Class 4 all-state second team.
She was also all-region, all-district, all-conference, and she will take her considerable talents to Texas Christian University.
“In the three years I was fortunate enough to coach Mia, she missed just one practice,” MacLean said, “and that was to take her official visit to TCU. Her passion, her desire, her great talent and her dedication make her a special player.”
Swanegan seemed a bit surprised when she found out about the honor.
“This is really special, and I am a little bit caught off-guard,” Swanegan said. “I am so proud and honored to be (the) Player of the Year, because there was so much talent in the area this year. I've played volleyball for such a long time, and when I came to Blue Springs South I dedicated myself to being the best I could be.
“I never thought about honors or anything like that during the season, but now that the season is over, it is so special to think about being the Player of the Year. It's something I can share with my coaches, my teammates and my family. This will always be a special part of my life.”
Swanegan isn't a volleyball prodigy who dominated the sport from the first time she stepped on a court as a rec league player.
“No, no, no, I wasn't the best player on our team when I was in the fourth grade,” she said, chuckling. “I was tall, but I wasn't very good. But, I loved volleyball and have maintained my love of the sport.
“I think you could say I've evolved as a player and as a person. When I started playing, I dreamed about playing Division I volleyball, but I knew I'd have to work harder than anyone else to make that dream come true.
“And now that it has come true, I'm going to work even harder to show people that I am a Division I player.”
A player who can possibly leave another legacy with another program.