Miami Trace High School senior Tapanga Sanderson on Tuesday, Feb. 4, made known her future plans as it pertains to college and continuing her athletic and academic career.
Sanderson signed a letter of intent to attend Ohio University-Chillicothe, where she will be a member of the Hilltoppers women’s volleyball team.
The ceremony was held in the lobby outside the gymnasium at Miami Trace.
Joining Sanderson for the occasion were her parents, mom Traci and dad Mark, as well as coaches, administrators, teammates and friends.
“When I was younger, I wanted to go to Oklahoma State,” Sanderson said. “Then I decided I didn’t want to go somewhere that far away from home.
“Then I applied at Wilmington,” Sanderson said. “Then I got the offer, I got an e-mail from the coach at OU-C. I really wanted to continue my volleyball career. So, I decided to go to a recruiting open gym and after the first one, (the coach) told me that I had a spot on the team. So I decided to stick with OU-C. I liked the campus and it’s close to home.”
What about her course of study?
“I actually enrolled as undecided, but, I was thinking business management,” Sanderson said. “Then, I was also thinking about the (veterinary) field. Right now, I’m undecided, but I’m leaning more towards business management.”
Sanderson said that her favorite subject in high school is English.
“My favorite teacher is probably Miss (Andrea) Johnson,” Sanderson said. “She’s my English teacher.”
Sanderson began her volleyball career in the eighth grade at Miami Trace.
“Volleyball has been an opportunity for me to just let go of stress in life and just have fun,” Sanderson said.
Sanderson said she has enjoyed connecting with other young women in club volleyball.
“The travel, playing all these different teams…the experience is what I enjoy the most,” Sanderson said.
Coach Alyssa Coyle, the Ohio University-Chillicothe women’s volleyball head coach, is also the coach of Sanderson’s club team.
“I’ve been practicing with her for a good week or so now,” Sanderson said. “I’ve still been going to recruiting/open gyms at OU-C.”
“I want to for sure thank my mom and dad,” Sanderson said. “They push me. They take me to all of my tournaments. They make sure I have everything I need. They support me in the stands at every game.
“I also want to thank Coach (Doug) Mace,” Sanderson said. “I definitely feel like I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for him pushing me every day in practice for the last four years.”
“My favorite memory would be, not only winning league my senior year, but connecting with all of the younger girls,” Sanderson said. “Definitely beating Court House, for sure.”
High school experience
“It was a little stressful,” Sanderson said. “But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’ve had fun and made so many memories, especially with volleyball this past season. I’m ready to move on, but I’m not ready leave volleyball here behind and all my teammates and my friends.”
Doug Mace has coached Sanderson for the past four seasons.
“It’s kind of neat to watch (the players) grow up,” Mace said. “For Tapanga, her freshman year, she was a little inverted. She didn’t know how to approach me. The girls a lot of times are scared to talk to the coaches when we see them come over as freshmen.
“For her to choose to want to keep playing volleyball and go on to the next level in college, that’s awesome for her, it’s awesome for our program,” Mace said. “We’re real excited for her.
“She can play most places on the front row,” Mace said. “We had her playing in the middle for us. I’m sure her coach will have a spot for her when she gets to school and she’ll be a good asset for them. I look forward to being able to watch her play.”
“She has played for the Roundtown Volleyball Club,” Coyle said. “I had coached that team previously prior to the last two and a half years. The director had coached (Sanderson) previously, spent a lot of time with her. She sent me the information knowing I was looking for a middle hitter.
“She came to some open gyms and we kind of built a relationship off of that,” Coyle said. “We started the recruiting process to get to know her. I think she was a really good fit. This is my first year back (after having a son) to coaching club volleyball. She’s going to play for me this year. I get to coach her in club right now and then, in the fall, she’ll start, as far as college, playing for me, as well.”