Girls Volleyball: Maine South’s Miles puts in a lot of travel with two teams
Maine South's Katherine Miles puts up the shot during their regional game against Leyden at Niles North Feb. 14. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 29, 2012 4:42PM
Most volleyball players look forward to the end of the club volleyball season.
That’s when the best athletes get the opportunity to compete in a national tournament against top teams and impress college scouts.
The end of the club volleyball season also signals a break. On the heels of the fall high school season, club ball can be a long, grueling campaign that begins in December and extends into late June or early July.
For Katherine Miles, that break will have to wait.
“I’m playing club basketball for Full Package (Athletics) and after club volleyball nationals we go straight to Louisville for a tournament in basketball,” said Miles, who’s entering her junior year at Maine South. “I have another tournament for basketball in Tennessee a couple weeks after that. It’s not (that) time consuming, it’s just I have to dedicate myself to basketball and volleyball, which is great because both sports complement each other.”
While both club volleyball and basketball take Miles to several states in the Central Time Zone, the schedules for the two sports rarely overlapped this summer. Miles typically practices once or twice a week with each team, but it’s worse during the winter.
From December to late February, there were many days when Miles would go straight from Maine South basketball to 1st Alliance 16 Silver volleyball practice. Balancing dueling seasons with schoolwork leaves athletes with little free time. Yet, Miles is constantly tweaking her games — her hitting in volleyball, her ball handling and rebounding in basketball.
“I’ve definitely been trying to improve on my ball handling and working on getting faster,” Miles said. “This summer with Full Package, we do a lot of skill training — we do a lot on ball handling and shooting and working on the fundamentals — to try to get better at those things.”
After joining Maine South’s varsity volleyball team midway through her sophomore season and getting called up for the basketball team’s postseason run last year, Miles figures to be part of both varsity squads this season.
She already got a preview this summer of what life will be like this winter.
Although Miles typically travels to out-of-state tournaments with her club teams, Maine South’s girls basketball team headed to the University of Wisconsin for a two-day team camp on June 16-17.
“That was a lot of fun,” Miles said. “We lost one game and last year we did the same thing when we went to Notre Dame. It’s a great experience. It’s fun to go and play in a big arena.”
The Hawks went 4-1 over two days at Wisconsin, allowing Miles and her teammates to understand what it feels like to be a Division I athlete.
College athletics is one of her goals and Miles’ hectic schedule this summer is geared to increase interest from scouts.
The events she will attend over the next two weeks — July 4-7 at USA Volleyball’s Girls Junior National Championships in Columbus, Ohio, and July 9-11 at the Adidas girls basketball national championships in Louisville — will be well attended by recruiters.
Even with basketball and volleyball commanding much of her time this summer, Miles still has items to cross off on her list before the beginning of her junior year.
“I’m going to try and do some kind of volunteering, but I’m not really sure yet what I want to do,” Miles said. “Vacationing, too. We have a cabin up in northern Minnesota that we’re going to go up to. And sleep.”