April 16, 2014

Elyria
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Avon Lake’s Katie Mihalik caps big day by winning Miss Volleyball award

Katie Mihalik celebrates being named "Miss Volleyball" on Wednesday, just hours after signing a letter of intent to play college volleyball at Cleveland State University. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

Katie Mihalik celebrates being named “Miss Volleyball” on Wednesday, just hours after signing a letter of intent to play college volleyball at Cleveland State University. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — Katie Mihalik had an exciting Wednesday.

The Avon Lake senior outside hitter signed her national letter of intent to play college volleyball at Cleveland State in the afternoon, then was awarded the Lorain County Miss Volleyball award at Elyria Catholic at night.

“I signed with the school I love, Cleveland State, today,” Mihalik said. “Then I came here and got this awesome award. It’s been such a great day. … A great, emotional day for me.”

Mihalik put together one of the best seasons in Shoregals history, setting school records for kills in a game (28 in a home match against Amherst on Oct. 1), season (310) and career (720).

After playing in the middle for most of her high school career, Mihalik moved to the outside for her senior season.

“Her long-term goal is to be an outside hitter in college, so we tried to transition her into that between her junior and senior years,” Avon Lake coach Dan Berkheimer said.

“Her senior year she played outside hitter her entire time. She was learning the position as she went, but at no time did she take away from what her teammates were doing. She put extra time into it herself and ended up having the best season of her career.”

Mihalik is the third Shoregals player to earn Miss Volleyball honors and the second straight.

Whitney Craigo, who plays for Maryland, won last year and Sarah Simmons, who played at Syracuse, was the 1995 winner.

Avon Lake’s Katie Mihalik, second from right, celebrates being chosen as Miss Volleyball on Wednesday with Avon Lake’s Lauren Bakaitis, right, and, from left, EC’s Rebecca Pronesti and Avon’s Sarah Berkheimer and Erin Cannon.

Avon Lake’s Katie Mihalik, second from right, celebrates being chosen as Miss Volleyball on Wednesday with Avon Lake’s Lauren Bakaitis, right, and, from left, EC’s Rebecca Pronesti and Avon’s Sarah Berkheimer and Erin Cannon.

“I’m shocked and it is such an honor to get this,” Mihalik said. “There are so many amazing players in Lorain County and just to be nominated was an honor. The fact that I won … I’m speechless.”

Berkheimer thinks Mihalik is the kind of player awards such as Miss Volleyball were created for.

“She’s played for me for four years, and I’ve watched her grow up so much,” he said. “Freshman year I saw her. Not only was she talented, she had that inner drive to work hard. She just has this light about her, this personality that’s positive. She has the leadership pieces that you don’t see all the time and she brings passion to the game. She has the whole package.”

Avon Lake had a 9-14 record this season, but Mihalik is satisfied with her Shoregals career.

“The four years at Avon Lake have been awesome,” she said. “We got two conference championships, district runner-up and a district championship in my four years. … I can’t thank my team enough for that, and thank the great coaches at Avon Lake. It’s been a great four years.”

Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or macsportstalk@gmail.com.

Miss Volleyball winners

2013 — Katie Mihalik, Avon Lake (Cleveland State)
2012 — Whitney Craigo, Avon Lake (Maryland)
2011 — Sara Kaminski, Elyria Catholic (John Carroll)
2010 — Deme Morales, Amherst (Wisconsin)
2009 — Zoe Zwegat, Elyria Catholic (Wooster)
2008 — Amanda Medvetz, Elyria (Cleveland State)
2007 — Courtney Jarvis, Amherst (Akron)
2006 — Ashley Yuhas, Elyria (Walsh)
2005 — Kelly Ruth, Elyria (Xavier)
2004 — Kate Verhoff, Elyria (Kent State)
2003 — Mel Snyder, Amherst (Cleveland State)
2002 — Courtney Gilbert, Midview (Cleveland State)
2001 — Lisa Verhoff, Elyria (Indiana State)
2000 — Laura Sidorowicz, Amherst (Tennessee Tech)
1999 — Jessy Verhoff, Elyria High (Western Illinois)
1998 — Jenn Snyder, Elyria High (Akron)
1997 — Rachel Beran, Firelands (Cincinnati)
1996 — Erinn Kingmann, Elyria High (Cleveland State)
1995 — Sarah Simmons, Avon Lake (Syracuse)
1994 — Jodi Williams, Elyria High (Edinboro)
1993 — Becky Paukst, Elyria West (Ohio University)
1992 — Marin Ferlic, Lorain Catholic (Bowling Green)
1991 — Kearsten Yarish, Elyria Catholic (Cleveland State)
1990 — Amy Schloss, Elyria High (Michigan State)
1989 — Rosie Schneider, Avon (Notre Dame of Ohio)
1988 — Monica Taylor, Elyria High (Ohio State)
1987 — Rebecca Yarish, Elyria Catholic (Kent State)
1986 — Jennifer Smith, Midview (Cleveland State)
1985 — Angie Riggins, Elyria High (Ashland)