ONEIDA — Paige Wexell has been named ROWVA High School’s volleyball coach.
On Monday, she was chosen to fill the void left by the departure of Kaitlyn Ingle, who guided the Tigers for only a season.
“She didn’t teach at the school,” Grant Gullstrand, ROWVA’s athletic director, said of Ingle. “She had a job opportunity that she had to pursue.”
Wexell’s employment as a junior/senior high math teacher at ROWVA was approved in a virtual meeting on Friday, April 3.
And the 22-year-old is looking forward to facing her older sister Brooklyn Wexell’s volleyball team in the future.
Brooklyn, a 2013 Cambridge High School grad, played for Ridgewood, as did Paige, a 2015 Cambridge grad, and she’ll guide the Spartans when they are able to take a volleyball court again, as Brooklyn was recently hired to take over for Lisa Miller.
The sisters coached together last fall. Paige served as Ridgewood’s freshman volleyball coach, and Brooklyn coached the JV squad.
Paige Wexell has plenty of coaching experience. She’s guided club volleyball players in the past, and she also served as Churchill Junior High School’s eighth grade coach this winter.
Wexell is elated to take over the Tigers, and she observed them in the 2019 season.
“I got to watch them as the season progressed, and I thought (Ingle) did a good job with them,” Wexell said. “I don’t see being the second head coach in two seasons as a challenge. I see it as a new slate.
“I can come into the program and make it mine,” she added. “Hopefully, they can throw in some drills from coaches they have had before and we will do some drills I know and have the best practices we can.”
Wexell is anxious to get to work, but things are on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“She seems to be very energetic about volleyball. You can tell she has a passion for the game,” Gullstrand said of Wexell. “She’s asked me a lot of questions as far what she can and can’t do in this pandemic situation.”
“I wish we had summer stuff going on,” Wexell said. “I had a good league and everything lined up, but we can’t do it with everything that is going on. Hopefully, we can get going right away in the fall and have the best season we can.
“I’m just super excited to take over for ROWVA,” she added. “Those girls are really scrappy. They always have good heart. I’m just ready to get rolling and hope they can love the game like I do.”
Wexell, who continued her volleyball career at Carl Sandburg College in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, knows ROWVA’s players may not have experienced many victories in the past and hopes that changes.
She’s been there, though. Ridgewood wasn’t very successful when Wexell played for the Spartans.
“My seasons in high school were not good,” said Wexell, who transferred from Sandburg to Western Illinois University in Macomb, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in 2019. “My sophomore year, I got pulled up.
“I definitely had a big struggle with winning records in high school.
“It’s hard. It’s defeating, but you can’t give up on it,” she added. “You just have to keep working and hope for progress.”
Matthew Wheaton can be reached at (309) 315-6073 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @matthewlwheaton