THROWBACK THURSDAY: Mac volleyball champions

In the mid-90s, varsity team one of the best in Texas


The ’94 Lady Knights varsity players smile wide for a team photo. Believe it or not, the young woman in the front row on the left is Camille Nix (formerly Cox), the current college and career counselor.

Michael Pegues, layout editor

Seniors Michelle Sanchez and Kim Kennemer have been playing volleyball a good part of their lives, whether it has been on club or high school teams. All of that competition and practice paid off this volleyball season: the team went all the way to the 4A State Championship game.

The Lady Knights, led by Kennemer and Sanchez, finished with a record of 34-7 en route to becoming the second best team in Texas.

Fittingly so, both were named to the State All-Tournament Team.

“It was very exciting,” said Sanchez. “It was a great honor for me to play in the championship game.”

Kennemer has the same enthusiasm when looking back on that day.

“We worked all season for that and I was extremely content with our big accomplishment,” she said.

Along with Kennemer and Sanchez’s State All-Tournament distinction, they also received other distinguished awards.

Sanchez and Kennemer received Co-Newcomers of the year in district 26-4A their sophomore season, while on a team that finished second in district with a record of 8-2.

In their junior year they were named to the All-District Team from a squad that went undefeated in district play while capturing the title. Kennemer was a first team selection while Sanchez made second team All-District.

This year though, both jumped into the spotlight in Central Texas with many deserved awards. Kennemer received a return spot on the First Team All-District while Sanchez took the top honor with the Most Valuable Player award in District 26-4A.

Kim and Michelle are the best volleyball players to ever put on McCallum jerseys.

— Anita Blank

With these honors, the Austin American-Statesman’s All Central-Texas Team seemed inevitable. Both Sanchez and Kennemer were recognized for their senior leadership and great skills on a team that rolled over the other teams in District 26-4A en route to their second championship season. Kennemer and Sanchez were both named All-Centex players by the Statesman this season.

Sanchez and Kennemer have proven they are among the best in Central Texas, and have been recognized for their accomplishments with these awards.

Coach Anita Blank has one simple answer to all the recognition Kennemer and Sanchez receive.

“Kim and Michelle are the best volleyball players to ever put on McCallum jerseys,” said Blank. “Kim has outstanding athletic ability combined with her natural instinct which allows her to play the setter position great, while Michelle is the most complete volleyball player in all aspects of the game.”

Coach Blank’s sentiments are also shared by the team.

“Michelle could do everything. She was an effective server, a consistent passer, and a deadly spiker,” said sophomore teammate Tricia Johnson.

“Kim was a major factor in our success this season because of her awesome sets, which helped lead us to State,” said Johnson.

Kennemer and Sanchez are planning to go to college.

Michelle could do everything. She was an effective server, a consistent passer, and a deadly spiker

— Tricia Johnson

“I plan on going to college and majoring in some field of engineering while playing volleyball,” said Sanchez. “As for now I’m going to be playing club ball to prepare me for the competition I’ll face in college.”

“As of right now I’m planning on attending Southwest Texas in the fall,” said Kennemer.

The main thing the girls have learned throughout their volleyball careers is something that they believe they will need the rest of their lives.

“The most important thing I’ve learned from volleyball is how to work with other people,” said Kennemer. “That will be important for me in the future.”

“Volleyball has taught me how to work with other people and the responsibility that comes with being on a team,” said Sanchez.

Kennemer and Sanchez built a firm stepping stone for their lives, while at the same time giving McCallum students something to be proud of: a winning volleyball team.

This story was originally published in The Shield on Dec. 13, 1994.