Prep notebook: Prairie High promotes volleyball coach

Person takes over team that won 3A state title

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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The first head coaching job for Paige Person just happens to be one of the best volleyball jobs in the state.

"The program is in amazing condition, and I really love the girls and their families," Person said. "You really can't step into a better position, state championship or not."

Prairie won the 2012 Class 3A state title under the leadership of coach Andrea Doerfler. When Doerfler resigned, Prairie looked within the program to take over the top spot. Person has been the junior varsity coach the past three seasons.

"Why wouldn't I want this job?" Person asked. "Prairie volleyball has a really strong tradition. We have wonderful families, outstanding girls. I fell really blessed to have the opportunity to keep working with these girls."

Person, 26, is a counselor at Heritage High School. She played four years of college volleyball at San Diego Christian, an NAIA Division I program. She has been a head coach at the club level.

The Falcons will start their summer program on the May 28. Person said she is looking forward to that first day, adding that she does not feel any extra pressure because the Falcons will be the defending state champions. That team graduated six players.

"The exciting part of it is every year you get to see what walks into the gym and you make the best of what you've got," Person said.

She already knows the character of the girls she will be coaching.

"The program has been built on a lot of great core values. Hard work and respect," Person said, crediting Doerfler. "I hope we can keep those things."

Doerfler led the Falcons to three state trophies in her five years at Prairie. The team finished third in 2009, fifth in 2011, then won the title in 2012.

Prairie has reached the state tournament 14 times since the program's first berth in 1988, earning nine trophies, including two state championships.

Volleyball champs sign with colleges -- The Prairie volleyball program celebrated three of their own this week for signing with college programs.

Kaitlyn Sitton is heading to Saint Peter's University in New Jersey. The NCAA Division I Peacocks play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Carissa Campbell is going south to play for Central Arizona College, a relatively new program.

And Tori Porter will stay in the Northwest, signing with Oregon Institute of Technology.