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Wildcats' Kaminski makes college choice early

Blue Springs outside hitter verbally commits to Oklahoma in middle of junior season

By Bill Althaus
bill.althaus@examiner.net
Blue Springs junior outside hitter Chloe Kaminski (4), hitting a spike against a block attempt by Blue Springs South's Kyla Braden (4) and Tori Valentine (12) in last year's match, has already verbally committed to Oklahoma.

Blue Springs High School’s Chloe Kaminski is a volleyball player who usually manages to come up with the type of plays that deflate an opponent and spark her Wildcat teammates.

As a sophomore, many of those moments came when she was starring on the front line, although at just 5-foot-7 (she is now 5-9), she was giving up four to six inches to many of the girls she was dominating.

This season the reigning Examiner Player of the Year is also starring on the back row, where a dig leads to an electric return and is followed by a gym-shaking kill.

Those are two big reasons Kaminski, who is ranked No. 4 in the state by @PrepDigMo for the Class of 2022, has verbally committed to play volleyball at the NCAA Division I Oklahoma.

“Chloe is my second player to attend Oklahoma,” said Wildcats coach Katie Straka, who was a rookie coach for the Wildcats when Morgan Reynolds committed to the Sooners.

“I’m thrilled for Chloe. When she was 8, she would come to our volleyball camps and you could tell right away that she was a special player. Now, someone might come to one of our matches and ask me who to watch out on the court, and I tell them about Chloe. It only takes a moment for them to realize what a special player she is.”

Committing to the Sooners is the realization of a dream that began when Kaminski was that 8-year-old who loved watching the Wildcats as much as attending their camps.

“I dreamed about playing for Coach (Straka) when I was a little kid,” Kaminski said. “And I dreamed about playing Division I volleyball at a really great school, and now both of my dreams have come true.”

In her sophomore season, Kaminski made just 12 errors on 283 serving attempts (96 percent) and had 22 aces from the back line. She finished with 266 kills, an average of 3.5 kills per set, had a .280 hitting percentage and added 261 digs, an average of 3.6 per set.

“Chloe does everything you could ask – and more,” Straka said. “Last year she was first team all-district, first team all-conference, she led the team in kills and was second in digs. She was a six rotation player, and she was only a sophomore. And she’s putting up those types of numbers this year, too. Oklahoma is getting quite a player!”

Oklahoma was one of the first programs to reach out to Kaminski, and that made an impact.

“Oklahoma was one of the first schools to contact me, and you always remember the first school, the first coach, who gets in touch with you,” Kaminski said.

“And I wanted to attend a school that was within an eight-hour time barrier – not too far away – so that my family could come watch me play, and Oklahoma was within that time frame.

“And I visited the campus and loved the coaches and the players and knew that was where I wanted to continue my volleyball and academic careers.”

And Kaminski is the type of gritty team leader who will only work harder after committing to a Division I program like the Sooners have in Norman, Okla.

“It’s such a relief to know where I am going to play, especially since I’m just a junior,’ Kaminski said, “but, it will make me work even harder, if that’s possible. I feel like I give it 110 percent every time I am on the court, at practice or during a match, and that will never change.”