As a freshman, Mia Wesley often let her emotions and competitiveness get the best of her.
“Freshman Mia was a spitball of fire,” Wesley said. “I had to change my attitude and mindset. I had to learn I could still be competitive but not in a negative way.”
As a senior, Wesley totaled 387 kills (3.9 per set) and hit .225 while contributing 54 aces and 319 digs. She was her team’s best player, but during Mountain View’s state championship run she had to count on her teammates to carry her through a crisis moment.
On Nov. 9, the Bruins earned the school’s first state volleyball title since 1982, topping No. 1 seed Farmington 3-1 at the UCCU Center for the Class 5A title.
For her passion, effort and ability, Wesley is this year’s Daily Herald Valley Player of the Year.
Mountain View — the No. 2 seed in this year’s 5A tournament — survived a five-set match against Maple Mountain in the quarterfinals. Wesley had 15 kills and the Bruins prepared to face Lehi in the semifinals on Saturday.
Friday night, Wesley became ill.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be able to play,” Wesley said. “I could barely walk. All I could think was ‘This is bad.’ I felt so weak and light headed. I felt like I just ran a marathon. My body was just so drained.”
Wesley made it to the locker room Saturday morning at the UCCU Center and immediately got a boost from her teammates.
“I saw them all and I just felt warm inside,” she said. “This is not just my team, this is my family. They hugged me and told me, ‘You got this.’ I had a really good warmup and I thought, ‘This is what I’m here for, to play volleyball. I know what I’m doing.’”
Mountain View won the first two sets against Lehi and was in a tight struggle with the Pioneers in Set 3.
“In the third set, I was just gassed,” Wesley said. “I told my teammates I didn’t know if I could go to a fourth set. I told them we needed to finish and I needed their help. That moment, I was like ‘I know they’ve got me.’ They made amazing plays and got all these blocks and digs. I didn’t have to do anything. Knowing they had my back the entire game and they were working harder for me made my load easier. They really helped me when I was struggling.”
Mountain View won the third set 25-23 to advance to the state championship match against Farmington, which had beaten the Bruins badly in a tournament earlier in the year.
Between the two matches, Wesley rested, ate crackers and drank apple juice to settle her stomach.
Mountain View and Farmington split the first two sets in the title match but the Bruins won Set 3 and started to gain momentum.
“It was weird,” Wesley said. “I don’t know if it was just because of the gym we were in, but every time I touched one of my teammates’ hands or jerseys in the huddle, I got an electric shock. Maybe it was a sign.”
Mountain View dominated the fourth set, winning 25-14 and the state title. Wesley — obviously feeling better — led the Bruins with 17 kills.
“Everyone was celebrating on the floor and I was still standing up,” Wesley said. “I was telling myself, ‘Don’t cry, Mia, don’t cry.’ I never cry. Then I looked down at my teammates and said two of our freshmen, Kaylin Scott and Brielle Miller, and they were both crying really hard. Then I just started bawling. They’ve worked so hard and we’ve been through all the same struggles this season. We had hard practices and went through that together. It paid off and it was all worth it. Seeing my teammates that happy brought tears of joy.”
Wesley has accepted a scholarship offer to play volleyball at the University of Portland next season. She said volleyball has taught her so much.
“I like that it’s a team sport and just everything about it,” Wesley said “You have to have three contacts. You can’t do everything yourself. You have to learn to work well with other people. I’ve not always been the nicest player. I’ve always been the aggressor. I really want to win and I’d yell at my teammates.
“These four years at Mountain View I’ve learned that’s not the way I need to be. I needed to learn how to be a leader on and off the court and not just let my talent show up for me. I needed to help my teammates believe in themselves and give them some of my confidence. That’s one thing that will stick with me most is learning how to be a team player and to play for the team, not just for the individual.”