AJ Grutsch | podcast editor
In a ceremony April 27, Lauren Schutter signed her letter of intent to play volleyball at Michigan State University.
Schutter — a year-round volleyball player — spoke first. She gave credit to her parents, and joked that she probably “put 100,000 miles” on their family suburban. She’s traveled to Kansas City to practice three times a week for the past two years, and has gone to countless out-of-state tournaments as well, including a trip to nationals last week in Arizona.
The next speaker was Angie Miller, Schutter’s club coach from 6th grade to her sophomore year of high school. Miller, also a teacher and track coach at Anthony Middle School in Manhattan, spoke of Lauren’s character and let loose a few inside jokes.
“Lauren was a vital part to our success as a team. You always wanted Lauren on your side of the court, so we ended up calling her our tree,” Miller said.
Coach Tracy Capoun was up next. Capoun coached from Schutter’s freshman to junior year at WHS. Capoun referred to the acronym H.E.A.R.T. throughout her speech, which stands for Honor, Effort, Attitude, Respect, and Team. H.E.A.R.T. was started by Schutter’s mother Amy Schutter, when she was the WHS head volleyball coach as a way to keep the team together.
“12 years after Amy Schutter came to the Wabaunsee volleyball program, we are celebrating her daughter in the same high school. In order to get where she is, Lauren had to have that H.E.A.R.T.” Capoun said.
After Capoun came current WHS coach Chris Smart, who coached Schutter’s last season of high school. Smart reminded the team of how Lauren does not only do her best on the court, but also in class. Lauren won a national award from the American Volleyball Coaches Association, making its Best and Brightest first team.
Coach Smart also mentioned how Lauren has a positive attitude and a great leader for the team. “She has been most importantly a positive leader on our team and that has helped us out in some pretty rough moments,” said Smart.
Next, principal Jan Hutley spoke. Hutley spoke first of her interactions with Schutter. “I respect that she is willing to stand up for herself and see other points of view, which will help her a lot in the future,” said Hutley. She then went on to speak of Lauren’s abilities in volleyball. “I never watched a lot of volleyball, but when I saw Lauren play, her love for the game was evident. It made me enjoy watching volleyball.”
Lauren’s father Paul Schutter spoke last, thanking Lauren.
“As much as I would love to take credit for Lauren’s athletic prowess — you know, with my physique and everything — Lauren was basically born on the court, as her mom was coaching volleyball during the time she was pregnant with her,” said Paul.
Schutter finishes her WHS career as one of its most decorated volleyball athletes in WHS history. After being out all season her freshman year with an injury, she was unanimous first team all-league 3 times, all-league academic 3 times, 1st team 2A all-state tournament 3 times, first team 2A all-state 3 times, AVCA All Region Team region 8 (CO, KS, NM, UT, WY), a member of the All-Class Super Team, and a selection for the KVA All-Star Game this summer.
Schutter had originally committed to Illinois State, but opened her recruiting again earlier this semester after the coaching staff left for a job at Michigan State.
She considered several schools, including Syracuse, KU, K-State, Clemson and North Carolina.
“I really believe in their coaching style, and I feel comfortable going further away if it’s with them. I really believe Michigan State has the best volleyball staff in the NCAA. Along with athletics, Michigan State will be a great place to earn a degree. The programs and internship opportunities there are top-notch.”
Class of 2022 signings
Kaelyn Conrad: Johnson County softball
Kara Hafenstine: Ottawa softball
Madisyn Havenstein: Allen County softball
Cade Oliver: Washburn football
Previous WHS division 1 signees
Steve Oliver, Kansas football, 197xx
Harold Oliver, New Mexico St. football, 1977
Janet Hund, Wichita St. basketball 1987