ELYRIA — Whitney Craigo thought about being named Lorain County’s Miss Volleyball for 2012. It was in the back of her mind.
Way, way in the recesses of her mind.
“I wasn’t thinking about it much,” said Craigo, Avon Lake’s 6-foot setter. “I’ve been concentrating on getting ready for (the University of) Maryland. Maybe I thought about it a little bit.”
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She can stop thinking about it, now. It’s reality. Craigo was selected the 28th Lorain County Miss Volleyball between matches Wednesday night at the annual senior all-star matches.
Craigo is the second Miss Volleyball from Avon Lake, following Sarah Simmons in 1995.
“I wasn’t going to get my hopes up,” Craigo said. “I’m entering a new chapter in my life. I’m doing all I can to get ready to play in college.”
Craigo will attend Maryland on a volleyball scholarship she accepted last November.
“I signed my letter (of intent) today,” she said. “I talked with my coach (Tim Horsmon). I have all these workouts I need to do. That’s what has been on my mind since the end of the season.”
Still, winning the county’s highest volleyball honor gave Craigo a chance to look back on a fantastic four-year career with the Shoregals. Craigo helped Avon Lake to Southwestern Conference championships this season and in 2011 and a Grafton district championship last year.
She was third team All-Ohio, the SWC Player of the Year and first team Division I District 3 this season and an honorable mention All-Ohio pick last year.
Craigo averaged 8.4 assists, 1.3 kills and 2.6 digs per game in 77 games this season, helping the Shoregals go 19-6 after a 23-3 season in 2011.
“Last year’s team was amazing,” Craigo said. “I wouldn’t have been recruited but for the team I had around me. They were all so talented.
“This year was so much fun,” she added. “It was the icing on the cake — just a great way to end my senior season.”
“I think about what I told Whitney at the beginning of last year,” Avon Lake coach Dan Berkheimer said. “I told her that statistics are great, but people will look at what you led your team to. Back-to-back (SWC) championships had never been done before in volleyball at Avon Lake.
“She took a lot of pressure off the other kids,” Berkheimer said. “They knew she would be there so they could play their games. The setter is the hub of the wheel and Whitney was such a crucial part of our success.”
Craigo was a full-time setter for the Shoregals for just her final two seasons.
“She started as a middle hitter,” Berkheimer said. “She can still get kills, as we have all seen. But all the college middle hitters are 6-2 or 6-3. She said she might want to dabble in setting. I let her try it, and let her set in a match when she was comfortable. So about halfway through her sophomore year she said she was ready. I guess you can say the rest is history.”
A special mention was given to Kit O’Shaughnessy of Elyria Catholic, the runner-up in the voting for Miss Volleyball. O’Shaughnessy helped the Panthers to a 20-4 record and the West Shore Conference championship. She led the Panthers in kills and was second in assists and digs.
O’Shaughnessy was named WSC Player of the Year, Lorain County Division III Player of the Year and Division III District 3 Player of the year.
Marsha Coultrip, who retired in 2011 after 33 years coaching Wellington, was named to the Lorain County Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Coultrip finished with a 425-316 record and was a seven-time Lorain County Coach of the Year.
Laurie Cogan of Amherst was honored for reaching her 400th career coaching victory this season. Clearview’s Dave Dorinski was honored for having reached his 100th coaching victory.
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or email@example.com.