From what I can tell by talking with Paiton Haga for just a short little while is she is one dedicated athlete. And that the volleyball is very important to her. On September 29 of this year she reached a career milestone with 1,000 digs. This achievement when accomplished is more than likely done in your senior year.The Lady Lions are currently 18-10 with a 2-1 league record. Paiton has an older sister that played volleyball and she wanted to accomplish some of the same goals that her sister did while playing like going to the state tournament . Which she was able to do in 2017 with the Lady Lions. Volleyball players don’t get a lot of recognition by media members because football is so important . But after you read some of her answers to the questions I had asked her I am pretty sure you will see she deserves everything for her hard work.
Did you know before hand that you were getting close to the 1,000 career dig mark?
Yes, I did know that I was getting close to my 1,000 dig mark. It wasn’t my main focus though. My main focus was helping my team by doing my job. I couldn’t have reached this goal without them.
What does that accomplishment mean to you ?
I remember telling my parents at the beginning of my freshman year that my goals in high school volleyball are to get 1,000 digs, beat records and that I want to be All-League and that I wanted to go to state in volleyball just like my sister did when she was in high school. This accomplishment just means a lot to me because I know I have not let my teammates or coaches down 1,000 times and that’s greatest feeling of all. No one ever wants to let their team/ coaches down so just knowing the fact that I haven’t let them down 1,000 times is unbelievable.
I understand you play club volleyball as well. What team do you play for and how long have you been playing competitively?
Yes, I play club volleyball for ICT Mavs our of Wichita. I am on the 18 Blue team this year for the Mavs. I have been playing club volleyball since 3rd grade, so I’ve been playing club volleyball for about 9 years.
How many games do you play a year ? And do you have any other training to become the best player you can be?
Between high school and club, I play around 150+ during the year. I train almost everyday in the off season with my trainer, Beau Barnthson. During the summer when I am not traveling for volleyball camps or working with my high school team, I will usually go up to the school with my friend Torrance Lovesee and we will go up and just get some reps.
Last season Leon Bluestem won substate and made a trip to the Kansas 2A state tournament. What was that like for you and your team?
It was a memorable moment and one I will never forget. When we went into that tournament, we had losing record. We were ranked towards the bottom of the bracket and every other team there had the mentality that they were going to beat us. We didn’t let that stop us from pushing through adversity and coming out on top. I was so incredibly proud of my team for winning sub-state, everyone had so much grit and determination to come out on top. We were the first bluestem volleyball team in 32 years to make it to the state tournament.
Is the Libero the position you prefer to play ?
Yes, I prefer to play Libero. I have been a Libero for two years. I didn’t start training with my trainers to become a Libero til half way through my freshman year of club ball. Last year was my first time ever being a Libero in club and for school.
Why have the Lady Lions had the success on the court here recently?
I believe we have had so much success on the court because everyone on this team is so selfless and willing to help each other and push each other to be the best person/ player we can be. We are running a faster offense this year, so it took us a couple games to get used to it. But we have all put so much time and effort into everything and we haven’t looked back once. We have had one goal this whole season and it was to go back to the state tournament. We know what we need to do and we have been prepared by our coaches to achieve this goal. So, it all comes down to October 20th to see what were made of. I have so much faith in this team and what we can accomplish.
The Leon Bluestem Lady Lions go to state in 2018 if?
We will go back if we don’t look back and just keep pushing through and let nothing get in our way of knowing what we can accomplish.
Tell the people reading this what makes volleyball such a great game?
I think volleyball is such a great game because of the quickness and strategic parts of it. Most people don’t realize the strategic parts of it. When people think of volleyball they just think of “bump, set and spike”. They don’t realize the different types of passes you have, the different types of plays you have for offense or how placing a ball in one specific spot can change everything.
Do you plan on playing college volleyball?
Yes, I am planning on playing college volleyball.
If so , do you have a dream school that you would really like to play for?
My dream school would be the school that would be the best fit for me academically and athletically.
How does coach Kieffer get the most out of you in practice and games?
Coach Kieffer gets the most out of me in practice and games by pushing to be my best all the time and reminding me of my goals 24/7. She wants to help me achieve my goals so she does whatever it takes for me to do so.
When not playing volleyball what are some things you really like to do?
When I am not playing volleyball I am either watching college volleyball or hanging with my friends and family.
Who are your role models?
My role models would definitely have to be Tim Hadsell or Beau Barnthson. They are my trainers for volleyball. They do so much for me all the time, it’s crazy. I admire them so much and I hope one day I can aspire kids like they do.
What is something that people don’t know about you ?
Something people don’t know about me is that I have a very goofy sense of humor and that if I could have any animal in the entire world I would have a giraffe, because they are so tall and I am envious of it.
Good Luck Paiton Haga and the rest of the Leon Bluestem Lady Lions the rest of the season. I hope you reach your goals!