State championships can bring joy and satisfaction to a community.
In Superior, it can lead to your team having a float in the town parade. Such was the case after the Wildcats won state championships in volleyball and girls basketball during the 2017-18 school year.
"They called them the 'Princesses of Superior,'" volleyball coach Kelsea Blevins said.
Jayme Horan can play just about any position in softball. Ditto on the basketball court. At a Super-State level, no less.
Kalynn Meyer, then a sophomore, played a leading role on both teams. Her four-year career was filled with towering kills, more than 2,000 points on the basketball court and throws that had her ranked among the nation's best in track and field.
Meyer's name is in multiple places in the record books, and she's one of the most decorated high school athletes in state history. The Nebraska volleyball recruit is the Journal Star's 2020 girls co-athlete of the year, sharing the honor with Millard South's Jayme Horan. Meyer is the first girls athlete to receive the honor three times.
But Meyer never focuses on that stuff, especially the big numbers. She cherishes the team aspect and takes more pride in what the school's recent success has done for the community.
"It's really important to me," said Meyer, who closed her senior year with Super-State first-team honors in volleyball and Super-State second-team honors in basketball. "In athletics and just from the past four years, especially my class, we've built such a strong connection between the school and the community.
"We've just built up a foundation so good that I think it will stand for a very long time."
Meyer's career numbers in volleyball include 1,882 kills, 1,281 digs and 304 blocks. The basketball numbers are maybe more head-turning. Meyer finished 12th all-time in the state in points scored (2,021) and she shattered the all-class career rebounding mark, nabbing 1,539 of those.
As a senior, Meyer averaged a career-best 21.1 points, 15.6 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. She pulled down 26 rebounds in one game and 25 in another. Meyer had 541 kills in volleyball.
She ranks second on the all-time state discus chart (176 feet, 8 inches) and sixth in shot put (49-5).
Add leading Superior to three state tournament appearances in volleyball, and three more in basketball, and the two state championships, and Meyer finishes with an extraordinary high school career.
But she admits, the loss of the spring season due to the COVID-19 pandemic leaves an uncompleted feeling.
"I'd say for the most part I feel like I've accomplished a lot, but just the fact that I won't have that last chance to go for the relay at state and a state gold medal in discus and going for it again in the shot, that will definitely feel like I was missing a piece to complete my high school career," Meyer said.
Meyer isn't ruling out the end to her track pursuits, whether that's at Nebraska or after her collegiate career is complete. A shot at the U.S. Olympic Trials excites Meyer.
"Hopefully I haven't closed that book (track) for good, so we'll see what the future holds," she said. "As of right now, I'm going to focus on volleyball."
Readjusting goals has been a constant exercise for Meyer.
Her freshman goals were to improve, learn from the upperclassmen and find a way to leave a mark each season. There were personal goals that Meyer quickly zoomed past.
"Everything was kind of based off freshman year," she said. "I kind of set some low goals just to kind of get the feel for it. It kind of all changed after freshman year."
For four years, Meyer enjoyed competing in front of the home crowds, and seeing many of those people in a state tournament setting in Lincoln. The school's first-ever team state championship (2017 volleyball) "kind of put Superior on the map more than it ever had before," Blevins said. "Our community is extremely proud."
Now Superior will be rooting for Meyer from afar, and Meyer is looking forward to representing her town on one of the biggest stages in this state — Nebraska volleyball.
Small-town girls have created some big stories in volleyball, most notably Jordan Larson, Christiana Houghtelling and Dani Busboom.
"I definitely look to them and all their accomplishments, and I hope to repeat some of those," Meyer said.
Blevins is confident Meyer will be the next small-town star at Nebraska.
"Honestly, I think the sky is the limit," she said. "Two reasons why: Physically, she is so long and strong and just has an incredibly powerful build. Mentally, she'll run through a wall for you. She'll do whatever Coach (John) Cook and Coach (Tyler) Hildrebrand say.
"I'm just super-excited to have such a high level of mental and physical athlete meet such incredible coaches."
Meet the Journal Star's 2019-20 multi-sport athletes of the year
Reach Clark Grell at 402-473-2639 or email@example.com. On Twitter at @LJSSportsGrell.
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