MAXWELL, Neb. (KNOP) - Maxwell volleyball senior Janie Sommer may lead the team in kills, but she is much more important to the team than just her contributions to the stat sheet.
Sommer leads the Wildcats in kills this season, plays three other sports, and is the one of the valedictorians at Maxwell High School (Credit: Patrick Johnstone/KNOP-TV)
"She pushes herself, and she pushes all of her teammates. Constant encouragement, working hard, she's going out of her way to do things she needs to, helping the younger girls, it's there, you see it every day," said Maxwell assistant coach Elise Miller.
Sommer's teammates see her as someone who is always there to pick them up when they're down... sometimes literally.
"She physically picks you up when you fall. She says encouraging words and gives us a smile when we're upset," senior hitter Josie Huffman said, "We've played games without her, and there are times where we're not as encouraged, and she's just our main encourager, and just a huge part of the floor."
The Wildcats know when they need someone to make a big play, Sommer will be there for them.
"She's pretty much the person we rely on, she brings up our energy. We know we can look to her if we need to get a serve or a hit, she's just our player," said senior Libero Kenzie Vedder.
Sommer takes the responsibility of encouraging her teammates, and making sure everyone stays focused, but loose, on the floor.
"We have these crazy things we do if we get a kill or something, so I try to start that, and get them going, so that we can stay up throughout the game," Sommer said.
Sommer is always working to make herself better. "I'm definitely always your serving, trying to get better with my serve. In practice, I try to work super hard and encourage the other girls and stuff like that," she said.
She is always working her hardest, something her teammates and coaches notice as well.
"Every set of every game she's always just working her hardest you can tell she's giving all she's got," Huffman said.
"She wants to win, she wants to do everything she can to do that for herself, and for her team, and I think that's what makes her a really good player and determined to be the best that she can be," Miller said.
However, when it is needed, Sommer is able to joke around and keep spirits up.
“As a person, she's super goofy; she brings a lot of energy to any situation. Whether it be the classroom, court, or even a Friday night football game, she's always encouraging other people," Vedder said.
Besides being a four sport athlete, Sommer is also a great student, maintaining a 4.0 GPA, and being one of the valedictorians for this year’s senior class at Maxwell.
"She's a great student another thing she's intelligent she works really hard in the classroom too she does her work," Miller said.
Sommer attributes her success on and off the court to the people she has around her, and her beliefs.
"Definitely my family and faith have helped me throughout my high school years they're always there for me when I need them," Sommer said.
When she isn’t playing sports or hanging with friends, Sommer spends her free time helping to train dogs to hunt ducks.
As of right now, Sommer doesn’t know where she will attend college, but is looking at playing softball at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, IA, but is not ruling out the possibility of playing volleyball in college.