Small-School Player Comes up Big at JALC
May 18, 2017
CARTERVILLE — Bill Burnside saw something big in a small, Southern Illinois High School volleyball player.
His decision to recruit her wasn’t exactly a gamble, but it wasn’t a sure thing, either. For her to play at a high level in the NJCCA, it would take commitment and dedication.
Annie Wehrheim brought them both. And now — carrying with her again an unyielding commitment and dedication for her sport — she is leaving the John A. Logan College Volleyball Program with a scholarship to play at a Division 1 university.
Wehrheim came to John A. Logan College from Woodlawn High School in Jefferson County (population 698). She was one of only 32 students who graduated from the high school in 2015.
Burnside looked past the small-small stigma. What he saw was a player who surpassed 1,000 career kills in high school and led her team to a regional championship. More importantly, he heard Woodlawn coach Sara Lamczyk say Wehrheim was a special player who would “improve much” if recruited.
“That’s what I was wanting to hear,” Burnside said. “If she was willing to come to our program with commitment and dedication to improve her game, I knew we were making the right choice.”
In fact, Burnside calls Wehrheim “the most decorated player” in his 20 years at the College.
Here’s what she accomplished:
2015 – 1st team All-GRAC Conference
2015 – NJCAA All-Region 24 Team
2016 – GRAC Conference Player of the Year
2016 – NJCAA Region 24 MVP
2.7 Kills Per Game (led the team)
.315 Hitting Efficiency (led the team, and ranked #36 in the nation by the NJCAA)
.89 Blocks per Game (Ranked #10 in the nation for rightside hitters)
“Annie has been an incredible player for us the past two seasons,” Burnside said. “Her production and toughness on the court will be greatly missed. It will take a considerable team effort next season by multiple players to replace the offense that we are losing with Annie moving on.”
Said Burnside, “I am excited to see Annie move on to play at the Division 1 level. I have always felt that she had that level of talent, and I am glad to see Southeast Missouri State is giving her that opportunity. I don’t think they will regret their decision. I have watched Annie step up for us and deliver for our team at the biggest moments for the past two seasons, and I think she will step up for them when they need her next year as well. She has the ability to raise her level when needed, and she will need that next season.”
He added, “With Annie playing locally for SEMO, it will be a great opportunity to take our girls to watch. I think this is a great example to show our players what kind of future is possible for them if they show the same sort of dedication and toughness that Annie has shown here over the past two seasons.”