TWIN FALLS — Years ago, Kennedi Evans and Whitney Solosabal had their minds set. If they continued their volleyball careers in college, they would sign their commitment letters together.
That plan was realized on Thursday.
Evans and Solosabal, both seniors at Twin Falls High School, held a signing ceremony in front of family and friends outside of the Twin Falls gym Thursday afternoon. Evans signed with the University of Utah, and Solosabal is headed to Utah State.
“We’ve pretty much been best friends since sixth grade,” Evans said, “so it’s fun to achieve our goals together.”
Evans and Solosabal weren’t the only Twin Falls seniors to sign with a college volleyball program this week. Bruins middle/opposite hitter Tori Edwards inked a scholarship with Corban University, an NAIA school in Oregon, on Wednesday. Edwards and Evans both play for the Idaho Crush club volleyball team, based in Nampa.
Corban went 22-7 this fall and went to the NAIA national championships the year before.
“It’s a great fit for me,” Edwards said at Thursday’s ceremony. “I’m gonna go there and be an impact player at the start and try and help them win a national championship.”
For Evans, Thursday was the culmination of a stellar high school career. She has won the last three Great Basin Conference volleyball player of the year awards. Two weeks ago, she helped the Bruins earn their best state tournament finish in school history.
Evans’ father attended the University of Utah’s medical school, and Evans spent the first few years of her life in the state. She naturally became a Utes fan, but the possibility of playing volleyball for them didn’t seem real until last spring. That’s when Utah’s coaches saw her at tournament in a Salt Lake City tournament, and they immediately became impressed.
Evans received several Division I offers, and she narrowed down her list to North Carolina, BYU and Utah. Soon, it was just BYU and Utah, and she committed to the Utes shortly after they expressed interest.
“I’ve always wanted to play in the Pac-12, and I loved the University of Utah,” she said. “It was kind of the best of both worlds.”
While Evans secured a scholarship, Solosabal plans to play a year as a walk-on at Utah State before hopefully receiving some aid. She said Salt Lake Community College and Snow College offered full-ride scholarships, but Utah State was too attractive to pass up.
“They have a really nice volleyball program, and just a great campus and overall great school,” Solosabal said. “Even though it’s not a scholarship, most girls don’t ever get that opportunity.”
Evans and Solosabal both made brief speeches before signing their letters on Thursday. So did Twin Falls athletic director Ted Reynolds, assistant volleyball coach Wade Bond and both of the players’ fathers.
When Solosabal’s father stood up to speak, he struggled to get a word out. He was too choked up.
“I was trying not to cry,” Solosabal said. “It was something I don’t get to see very often, so that was really nice.”
Though both players had known their college destinations for months, Thursday’s ceremony provided some closure. It made their decisions official. No wonder tears were shed.
Above all, Evans and Solosabal were thrilled to celebrate their achievements together.
“It was awesome to sign next to my best friend,” Solosabal said. “It was really a special moment.”