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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2017:11:15 19:00:52

Emma Baker, Abington Heights PHOTO COURTESY OF THE TIMES-TRIBUNE

Emma Baker had a stellar year for Abington Heights volleyball, but was not sure if she had done enough to convince the league’s coaches that she should receive their support.

She shouldn’t have worried.

Baker, a senior middle hitter for the Lady Comets, was named the Lackawanna League’s most valuable player, and she did have an impressive season.

The middle hitter had 156 kills, showed her versatility with 32 aces and 37 blocks, and even hustled her way to 18 digs to complete a remarkable season. Baker was modest about her year, which ended one playoff win shy of qualifying for the state playoffs.

Her respect for her teammates and for her opponents showed when asked if it was a surprise to win the league’s MVP honor.

“It is. There are a lot of amazing players in the league,” Baker said. “So that makes it kind of unexpected.”

A tryout for a travel team had seemed to go off without a hitch, and Baker was selected for the team. What happened next could have ruined lesser athletes, but Baker turned it into a positive experience.

“I played for AVA, the travel team,” Baker said about the Anthracite Volleyball Academy. “And they pretty much picked me apart for everything, like my serving, my hitting, they had me reconstruct everything from scratch. Making the team, I assumed I was doing pretty well, but the minute we started practicing, they told me different things I needed to do to improve,” Baker said.

Many athletes of Baker’s ability might take exception to revising the way they do things to that degree, but it worked out for her. All the questions about her just seemed to make her tougher.

She is going around to visit colleges to see how well she fits in. She already has a favorite in mind.

“If I had it my way, I’d probably go to Florida International University,” Baker said with a laugh. “I also applied to some schools on the west coast.

Baker has left her mark on area volleyball courts this fall, comfortable with the fact that the only school in the Lackawanna League that the Lady Comets didn’t sweep was Dunmore, or that it was Nanticoke that delivered the blows that knocked out the Lady Comets, in chase of a state playoff berth.

Katie Dammer

Although it was too late to rewrite the history books, Abington Heights senior Katie Dammer made a nice recovery in her first cross country race since placing fourth in the state meet nearly a month ago.

Last weekend, Dammer placed third in the Nike Cross Northeast Regional held at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, New York, timed in 18 minutes, 36.1 seconds. Dammer qualified to run in the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon.

Dammer, who has committed to run for Georgetown University, got out of the chute quickly and near the leaders, and was able to stay with them for the entire race in the field of 295 runners.