PALESTINE – Westwood's Shamaya Downie joined the latest of Lady Panthers headed to Kansas to play on the collegiate level.
Downie inked her letter of intent Thursday afternoon to play volleyball at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.
The senior outside hitter made first-team all-district in District 20-3A with 132 kills and made her decision to become a Lady Red Raven based on a daily relationship she formed with the coach.
It also helped that the Coffeyville volleyball team is coming off of their second national title. They won the national tournament without dropping a set. The Red Ravens advanced to the national tournament as the No. 1 seed after winning the District N championship over Cowley in an epic five-set match.
Finishing the season with a 40-3 record, the Red Ravens held the number one spot in eight of the ten NJCAA DII polls this season.
Head coach Delice Downing was paramount in the development of Adaianez Reyes Rivera who was named the NJCAA Division II National Player of the year.
In 2017, Downing led her program to a 44-2 record while winning the KJCCC Tournament and winning Coffeyville's first every Volleyball NJCAA National Championship. Downing was named NJCAA Coach of the Tournament. The Red Ravens finished ranked number 4 in the nation in the last poll.
“She has the personality of my mom,” Downie said. “She welcomed me. She got on to me about certain things my mom would. She expects a lot out of me.”
For the fifth consecutive year, Downie will be paired with a different coach to get accustomed to.
“Having a new coach every year is hard,” Downie said after a slight pause. “I saw new things. Been through different practices. This year was the first year I had a one-on-one with a coach.”
Though not ideal, getting used to new coaches is an advantage she can take with her to college. Her standards for herself was higher each year Westwood introduced to a new coach. It didn't allow her to get stagnant but pushed her to work harder to prove herself.
Downie would have liked to stay close to home, but the six-and-half hour drive to Coffeyville was worth the opportunity to advance her athletic and educational career.
“They're getting a player who loves this game,” Downie said. “I'm going to work hard for everything. We're going to go to nationals again. I want to experience that.”
Shamaya's final message was to her coaches at Westwood who pushed her to get to this position:
“They see the good in all of us. For them to promote us (on Twitter) and tell everyone how we're doing makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I'm doing what they ask of me. I'm being coachable. I'm going to miss Westwood.”