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Van Alstyne’s Young leads on and off the volleyball court

Griff Servati,
The Van Alstyne Leader
Senior Lady Panther Valerie Young celebrates a point with her teammates.

Van Alstyne High School’s Valerie Young has been a significant part of the Lady Panthers varsity volleyball team since day one of her high school career.

Coach Veronica Mendez said about Young, "She is a very knowledgeable volleyball player, having been a four-year starter. She holds her teammates accountable and pushes them and herself to get better every day. I expect her to step into her leadership role this year and grow as an individual and a player to lead her teammates to success and progress each week.“

Young spoke about being a leader during this unique time.

"I am trying to stay positive and make sure everyone is taking preventative measures not to get sick. We are going day by day, hoping there will not be a new (COVID-19) outbreak, but that is obviously out of our control. As a team, we are trying to focus on the volleyball portion and build a strong connection between teammates to head back to state."

Young is one of the most versatile volleyball players in the area. She can hit for the kill at the net. She has played setter and can layout on the back row to get a dig. She doesn't come off of the court for the Lady Panthers.

Young was an integral part of the best team in the school’s history, which played for the state championship a year ago. She has earned district honors in each of her years on the court.

As a freshman, she was voted Honorable Mention All-District, a sophomore first team All-District and second team All-Texomoland. As a junior, she was first team All-District and All-Texomaland, along with state honors of Texas Sports Writers All-Star team and the Texas Girls Coaches Association All-Star team.

After she leads her team on the court on Friday afternoons, she heads to another leadership role as the athletic trainers' captain at football games. At the start of the year, her peers voted her captain.

"Val has been an exceptional leader and is a huge help to our program,“ said Dustin Emery, VAHS athletic trainer. "She helps out our program by teaching them a lot of the same skills she has proven she is capable of. She took extra time to study and learn multiple facets of athletic training, from first aid and emergency care to injury prevention and rehab and treatment, all while training for the upcoming (volleyball) season."

Young said her parents, Stasie and Nick, "have always been supportive of the choices I have made within my sports career. They push me to always give 100 percent in everything I do on and off the field."

There are still some unknowns when it comes to what is next for the teen.

"I don't know exactly where I want to go to college yet or what my exact major will be, but I do know I want to major in something in the medical field,“ she said.

Young is preparing for the future with the same approach she has on the volleyball court.

"I have always been just as competitive in the classroom as I have been on the court. I take AP and honors classes to challenge myself academically."

Van Alstyne's senior leader Valerie Young hits at the net for a kill.