FARMINGTON — Bebe Jaquez's volleyball career at Piedra Vista has been nothing short of stellar.
She found ample individual and team success, won awards and set school records. Now, the standout outside hitter is moving forward after signing a national letter of intent this afternoon at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse to play volleyball at Kansas Wesleyan University.
Jaqeuz said part of her choice came from the welcome she received from the program when she visited the college's campus a couple of months ago and hearing about the importance head coach Fred Aubuchon places on individual achievement away from the court.
"Everything wasn't based on volleyball. He said he really wants his players to thrive as individuals," Jaquez said. "He talked about furthering ourselves academically. That's what really sold me."
Another factor in her decision was the ties the Jaquez family has to the school. Jaquez's mother, Marty, played volleyball at KWU and graduated in 1990.
During her senior season, Jaquez was named the Lady Panthers' team captain and helped PV to a 19-5 overall record, a 9-2 record in District 1-6A — arguably the deepest district in 6A after four of the five teams made the quarterfinals at the 2016 state tournament — and the No. 2 overall seed in the 6A state tournament.
Along the way, Jaquez set a PV school record after serving 20 consecutive points against Kirtland Central during the PV Invitational in September, earned co-district Player of the Year honors and was named first team All-State.
And she may be only scratching the surface of how good she can be.
"I'm really excited to watch and see how she can develop as a player. I think she has huge upside potential," PV coach Ron Becker said. "I think she was only at the tip of the iceberg this year as far as becoming a great player. I think she's only going to excel and get better."
But who she is outside of volleyball is what made Jaquez invaluable to the PV program.
"She has really developed a lot as a leader, which was really great for our team and why she was our captain this year, and I've really seen her develop as a young lady," Becker said. "She's very polite, courteous and thoughtful of other people. Those are all characteristics I think will serve her well in the future."
KWU is a private college located in Salina, Kan. The Lady Coyotes compete in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
KWU finished the 2016 season 23-14 overall and third in conference play after going 18-4 in KCAC play.
Jaquez plans to major in biology at KWU and said she wants to go into the medical field after school, explaining that anatomy and athletic training classes she took at PV sparked her interest in medicine.
Becker said he thinks Jaquez has the skill to contribute on the court immediately as long as she can find a healthy balance between work on the court and in the classroom, and adjusting to life about 700 miles away from home.
But those are all things Jaquez is already working on.
"I've talked a lot with my brother (Ty), who's in college and had to make that transition," Jaquez said. "I've been talking to him throughout the whole year, and he's helped make it all easier."
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.