Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Weidner connects with Hutch coach

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 4/19/2013

Ottawa High School senior Paige Weidner wants people to be straight forward with her.

When she met Hutchinson Community College volleyball coach Patrick Hall, it was an instant connection. The first-year Hutchinson coach came to watch Weidner at the home tournament and did not fill her with empty promises.

Ottawa High School senior Paige Weidner wants people to be straight forward with her.

When she met Hutchinson Community College volleyball coach Patrick Hall, it was an instant connection. The first-year Hutchinson coach came to watch Weidner at the home tournament and did not fill her with empty promises.

“I love how personable he was,” Weidner said. “He was relatable to me. He is so straight forward. We have a lot in common.”

Weidner found out more on her official visit and knew right then that was where she wanted to attend school and play volleyball.

The OHS senior made it official Wednesday signing with the Blue Dragons in the school library.

“All the girls I spoke to on my visit loved him,” Weidner said. “He has great philosophy.”

The day she visited Hutchinson, the Lady Dragons had a match that night.

“One of my favorite things is, I practiced with him that day. He took time out of his schedule on a game day to help me with everything,” Weidner said.

The Cyclone was seeking a winning program. She was part of a winning tradition in all of her sports in high school.

She was on Ottawa’s third-place 4A state volleyball team in 2011.

Weidner played on two OHS girls basketball state teams. The 2012 squad finished third at state. She has qualified for state twice in track.

She said it was important to find a program with a winning track record. She found one in Hutchinson.

Hall guided Hutchinson to a 28-10 and a berth in the NJCAA National Tournament. The Blue Dragons were the Jayhawk West and Region VI champions.

“That was fantastic,” Weidner said.

The coach came from Barton County where guided the Lady Cougars into the national tourney in his only season there in 2011.

In six seasons at Pratt, he led Pratt to two Region VI runner-up finishes.

The turnover happens quickly at the junior college level with all of them being freshmen and sophomores. Hutchinson had seven freshmen on the roster from last year.

“We are looking at a very young team, which will be great,” Weidner said. “We will be able to mold together and figure everything out.

“It will be a quick transition. It will be a high-paced exciting game.”

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