Prior to playing volleyball, I was solo. I didn't know what being a team player was all about."Katie Cartrette
GUYTON — South Effingham senior Katie Cartrette was recently named the Region 2-AAAAA Co-Player of the Year. She shares the volleyball accolade with Statesboro's Jordan Palmer.
“I was very surprised,” Cartrette said. "I thought there was no way they chose me. It's really cool to hear that Jordan was the other Co-Player of the Year.
“I was not expecting that at all."
Cartrette was also named her team's MVP by its coaching staff. Lady Mustangs head coach Chancey Garrett was honored to guide a passionate player who has a commanding presence on the court, excels in the classroom and takes accountability as the captain of the squad.
"Katie is not only an amazing volleyball player but she is an excellent athlete," Garrett said. "She has been placed in every single position on the court and immediately picked it up like she’s been playing there her whole volleyball career. Not only is she talented, but she was also a team captain and leader on the court.
“She is the type of player that is so talented but still pushes herself to work harder every day. Katie will definitely be missed next year as she is leaving big shoes to fill. I can’t wait to she what she accomplishes."
Cartrette wasn't always the outspoken leader she is today. A former gymnast, the senior outgrew that sport and decided to use her length to be a dominant force on the volleyball court. Her mother, Joanna, taught her the basics and from there Cartrette blossomed. She credits volleyball for the development of her personality, saying she learned how to be a team player while fostering positive energy within those around her.
"I was a student at STEM but I only really came to South for volleyball," Cartrette said. "That is what tied me to the school in the first place. I made some really good friends and built some good bonds.
“I've had wonderful coaches here and this has been a good four years. I hope I made them proud."
The senior has opted not to pursue volleyball at the next level due to a bum shoulder. Still, she said the game taught her valuable lessons that she can use no matter where the next chapter of life takes her.
"It taught me a lot about leadership," Cartrette said. "I was really pushed to make sure everyone was in the right position and I really had an awareness for what was going on around me. Prior to playing volleyball, I was solo. I didn't know what being a team was all about. Having to work with other people to get a goal accomplished, I didn't understand how to do that. I didn't know how to talk to people.
“Volleyball really opened me up."
Cartrette wasn’t the only Lady Mustang to be honored by 2-AAAAA coaches. Ginger Vorel, Michael Zorbo and Anna Freeman were named first-team All-Region 2-AAAAA. Kayla Arnold was picked for the second team.