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Skylights land a pair of Montana volleyball stars

 

October 16, 2019

Courtesy Photo

Huntley Project star hitter Alana Graves, right has signed to play for the Montana State University-Northern volleyball team starting next fall.

Montana State University-Northern head volleyball coach Jerry Wagner had a whirlwind last spring when he was hired as Northern's new head coach. Now, however, Wagner has settled in to his first season at the helm of the Skylights.

But Frontier Conference play isn't the only thing Wagner has settled into in his first year back at MSU-N. He's also making waves on the recruiting trail.

Earlier this week, Wagner announced the signing of a pair of Montana standout players in Huntley Project's Alana Graves and Helena's Emily Feller.

Graves has been a star offensive and defensive player for Huntley Project and famed head coach Iona Stookey.

"Alana is an amazing athlete and a very skilled player," Stookey, who has led Huntley to unprecedented Class B success, said. "She brings a lot of energy to the court and is a threat at the net. She is very excited to continue her college career at MSU-Northern and to play for coach Wagner. I couldn't be happier for her."

With her senior season not even over yet, Graves brings an incredible resume to Northern. She has over 1,220 career kills and 135 career blocks.

Graves' accomplishments also include being a three-time All-Conference and Class B All-State selection, as well as a three-time Class B First-Team All-State Tournament honoree. Graves has helped the Red Devils to back-to-back Class B state titles the past two seasons, as well as a runner-up finish her freshman year. An all-around excellent athlete, Graves also helped Huntley Project to the 2018 girls Class B state track championship, where she ran hurdles, the 200, the 400 and both relays.

Oh, and for good measure, Graves carries a 4.0 GPA at Huntley.

"Alana is extremely capable of contributing to our program success early in her career." Wagner said. "I'm so encouraged with how this upcoming 2020 recruiting class is shaping up and to get it started off with such a talented player as Alana Graves certainly raises the bar. Alana has put in the time and effort to prepare herself both physically and emotionally to be the best player and teammate she can be. I'm so proud of my current team members who have been working so hard to establish a strong foundation for Skylight volleyball. I'm excited for our team moving forward, and thrilled Alana has chosen to be a part of this program. She will be a key contributor in our quest to move upward in the highly competitive Frontier Conference.

"Alana is an outstanding student - top in her class," Wagner continued. "It makes me equally as proud that she chose MSU-Northern to continue her academic pursuits in our nursing, biology or health promotion fields. She is very fortunate to have such wonderful family and community support. After spending time at Huntley Project High School, it is no surprise to me why they have such a long-standing tradition of program success."

While Huntley Project's incredible program at the Class B level will now provide Wagner with Graves, Helena High, in Class AA is doing the same, as Feller comes to Northern from the successful Bengal's program, under HHS head coach Lindsey Day.

And while Feller had plenty of collegiate opportunities, not just in volleyball, but also in basketball, where she has played on the last two Class AA state title teams under Eric Peterson, a former Havre Blue Pony, Feller said Northern was the best fit all-around.

"I chose Havre because the school has exactly what I was looking for. It's small and has what I want to study," Feller said. "I really like coach Wagner and am hoping to learn a lot from him. The community is another reason I chose Havre - how much they care about the college."

Courtesy Photo

Helena High's Emily Feller, left, poses with her family and MSU-N head coach Jerry Wagner after signing with the Skylights Monday afternoon.

Feller comes to Northern having already earned Class AA All-State honors at setter in each of the past two seasons. Now into her third year as Helena High's offensive leader on the floor, she's once again thriving, and Wagner said that she'll certainly fit right into what he wants in a setter, a Skylight, and a student-athlete. Feller is also a top-notch student who has earned Academic All-State honors all three of her seasons at Helena High.

"I am thrilled that Emily Feller has chosen to be a student-athlete at MSU-Northern and play for the Skylights," Wagner said. "Academics are extremely important to Emily, so the fact that we have such strong civil engineering technology and graphic design programs here was a huge reason why Emily initially decided to take a look at MSU-N.

"I have to commend her Helena High and club volleyball coaches because it is clear that Emily has been extremely well coached," he continued. "Coach Lindsey Day, coach Amy Heuiser and coach Tiffany Hofer (and staff) have had an outstanding impact on Emily, and have developed her into a top-flight setter/hitter. I'm looking forward to coaching Emily, and I see her contributing in both of those areas early in her career."

 

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