By Jeremy McDonald
MONMOUTH, Ore.—Being fourth in line of a family line to go through a school like Kennedy Kantola has been with Central High School made the experience coming into High School and playing a smooth one.
“it’s been a smooth transition between school and sports because of having all of my siblings in sports and with most of us playing three sports it’s really opened up a big community/family of support and love,” Kantola said, who’s seen brother’s Kody and Kaleb as well as Kailin attend and graduate as Panthers.
Growing up in the Monmouth/Independence-area, to have played under a legend like Julie McDonald has helped Kantola in terms of hard work while Marc Burelson has picked up where McDonald left off when he arrived on campus last season.
“Growing up in this community gave me the chance to see how hard Julie pushed the group of girls she had and I think implying that made me work really hard and want to work for the others around me,” said Kantola. “And now having Marc as a coach he really pushes us girls individually to get better and is a really positive coach.”
The Panthers basketball squad has made it to the postseason the past 16 seasons, but Kantola’s passion has been with Volleyball. Recently traveling to Hawaii to play with her G3 Club team over at the Islands, performing well said Kantola who has been taking advantage of this downtime to work on her craft through G3 Volleyball.
“This year has obviously been different in the way that there hasn’t been a real VB season but I’ve continued playing on my g3 club team! My passion for volleyball will never end and it makes me happy every time I step on the court,” Kantola said, who was an Honorable Mention selection as a Junior in the MWC. “G3 has became like a second home to me and the girls there work really hard, my coach Jeff Megy has welcomed me and pushed me everyday with expanding my capacity of volleyball knowledge! I really appreciate still having a consistent schedule and it’s keeps me working on the sport I love.”
Volleyball at Central has been unique Kantola described, but when Bruce Myers arrived Kantola felt like it was a good fit for her personally. The Panthers went 11-13 in 2019 and two games behind Crescent Valley for the fourth and final playoff spot out of the Mid-Willamette Conference.
“With volleyball we got a new coach last year and Bruce was a good impact at central! This year has been really rough because there are so many unknowns but overall playing at Central has been a safe spot to grow and get better,” Kantola said. “Volleyball and basketball have always been my main sport but playing at central has been a really good experience.
“The variety of coaches have taught me a lot of things! Claudine/ Lindsey taught me more of how my hard work will be transferred and through my years now to Bruce I really focus on my shots and how I can play my best game physically and mentally.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald