(Editor's note: MSU-Northern media release)
HAVRE -- It's never too early to build for the future, and Montana State University-Northern head volleyball coach Jerry Wagner keeps doing that.
And he says he's fired up about his latest signee, Emily Adkins from Bridger. Adkins is a 5-foot-11 setter/outside hitter who signed with the Skylights earlier this week.
"First off, with everything that was going on this year, I was able to see a few high school matches, and I got to see Bridger play some of the best matches I've ever seen in person," Wagner said. "I watched them play Joilet, who won the State B championship, and Manhattan Christian, and they beat both those teams, and Emily had a huge hand in those matches. I saw a lot of talented kids and Emily is at the top of that list in my opinion. And Bridger is a very talented team that's very well-coached. And Emily was a big part of that, so I'm just really fired up about her, and so excited she chose to sign with us."
Adkins had a storied career with the Scouts, which included being named all-conference four times and Class C all-state the past three years. Her teams won four straight district and divisional titles, and this past season won the Class C state championship. The Scouts finished second the previous two years.
"Emily is the type of player a coach is lucky to get once every 20 years," Bridger head coach Lena Kallevig said. "She shows leadership and focus in every match you play. She is a perfect student and that transfers over to the court also. She seems to always be a play ahead of everyone else on the court. Emily is going to be missed by our program, but she did make an impact on my younger ones coming up. Only bad thing about her was trying to figure out where to play her. She sets in the back and hits outside and a little middle in the front. Any position I put her in she could dominate."
And Wagner feels the same way.
"She's a team player, she's a very good setter and has become a very good hitter as well," Wagner said. "So I am going to be able to play her anywhere, and she's the type of player that will impact our team wherever I put her. She's so focused, and her court savvy goes well beyond her years. Her focus, her drive, her determination, she's just unflappable. So she's a player that can come in and not only play right away, but impact our team in so many ways right away."
Yes, Adkins is a player who Wagner feels will help Northern continue to grow into a Frontier Conference power. And just as he's excited to have her aboard, she is excited to get to Northern and continue her career, where off the court, she's a 4.0 student planning on majoring in business and interior design.
"I chose Northern, first off, because of Jerry and his commitment to the recruiting process. In our first phone call I remember Jerry saying more than once, 'Now, I don't want to twist your arm, but I really want you on my team.' He was one, out of the coaches I talked to, that made me feel wanted and in that moment I could see myself joining his team," Adkins said. "He definitely didn't twist my arm either. I thought about this decision for two months and pretty thoroughly, too. I have yet to visit Havre or see the campus in person, but I think this says a lot about Jerry and how he went about recruiting me. I have talked to some of the girls already on the team and Jerry came to the divisional and state tournaments. This is a big decision to make that not only impacts me but also my family. When I was searching for colleges and a team to join, my first priority was to find a place that felt like home. From the beginning of talking to Jerry, he had some of the players reach out to me, and he even came to both the divisional and state tournaments. I could have easily chosen a different university to go to but between his support and what is best for me, Havre just felt like home, even if I have yet to visit."