Mitchell’s Misiaszek is named Daily Republic volleyball player of yearLike most athletes, Dana Misiaszek has a competitive side to her. She wants to win every volleyball match she plays in and wants to do her best in all of the matches.
By: Justin Rust, The Daily Republic
Like most athletes, Dana Misiaszek has a competitive side to her.
She wants to win every volleyball match she plays in and wants to do her best in all of the matches.
But Misiaszek’s best was a little better than most other players best effort.
Misiaszek, who has been starting on Mitchell’s varsity team since she was a junior, ended her high school volleyball career as the all-time kills leader in Kernels’ history with 949. She also set Mitchell’s single-season kill record with 413 kills this past season.
Misiaszek added 96 aces this past year, which was three short of tying Mitchell’s single-season record.
Her competitive spirit also helped lead the Kernels to the Class AA state tournament this year, and she had her best match of the state tournament in the last one of her high school career.
Misiaszek, a 5-foot, 6-inch middle hitter/outside hitter, had 13 kills against Huron in the seventh-place game as the Kernels swept the Tigers for the seventh-place finish.
It was the Kernels’ first win at the state tournament since 2004. Mitchell finished in sixth place at the state tournament that year.
“It was amazing to win a game at the state tournament for the first time in my career,” Misiaszek said. “It’s a good feeling to know that our names will go down as being the first (Mitchell) team to win a state tournament game since 2004.
“It was my last time wearing a Mitchell jersey and I wanted to have fun and play to my potential. I think that was my best state tournament match.”
Her accomplishments this year earned her a spot on the Class AA all-state first team.
For her outstanding season, Misiaszek has been named The Daily Republic’s area volleyball player of the year, an award determined by the newspaper’s sports staff. Misiaszek dominated the voting, taking all three first-place votes and receiving 15 points in a system that awards five points for a first-place vote, four points for second place, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth.
Wagner senior Devon Brecke and Wagner junior Jessa Doom finished in a tie for second place with 10 points each. Hanson senior Ashley Robinson was fourth with five points, followed by White Lake junior Maria Nightingale with three points and Wagner senior Alexa Cimpl with two points.
Last season, Mitchell’s Charlee Nelson, who now plays volleyball collegiately at the University of Sioux Falls, won the player of the year award.
Misiaszek’s high school coach, Deb Thill, saw how competitive her former player is, too.
Thill said Misiaszek is one of the most competitive players she has coached, but not just in matches. Thill said Misiaszek was competitive in practice.
“No matter what drill it was, she would make sure she was competitive at it all of the time,” she said. “That competitiveness is obviously what we want to see out of all of our athletes so they can win matches.”
Misiaszek is now leaning on her competitiveness to help her land on a college team.
“The competitiveness helps,” she said. “When colleges are looking, they almost see that ‘Eye of the Tiger’ in you.”
Her competitive spirit is not the only reason she wants to play volleyball collegiately.
“I don’t even know what I would do with my time,” Misiaszek said. “All I have ever known is go to school and play sports. It would be an empty space, definitely.
“I would do anything to keep playing.”
Misiaszek is looking forward to having new teammates and the experience of playing on a new team.
But she will also miss her teammates from the past few seasons with Mitchell.
Misiaszek said the thought of not being able to play another match with her Kernel teammates again did not hit her until her very last high school match.
“It hit us after that it was the last time we would win a match with all of those players on the court,” she said. “There were so many emotions after that game, but nobody was sad. We were all happy that we finished off so well.”
Misiaszek will have no shortage of options of what colleges she can choose from, according to Thill.
She said quite a few colleges and universities have contacted her about Misiaszek.
“There are a lot of different levels from junior colleges up to (NCAA) Division II,” Thill said. “She will have to decide academically what she wants to do and decide from there.”
The choice of which college Misiaszek wants to go to will be more difficult than her choice of what she wants to go to college for.
Misiaszek wants to enter the dental field, which shortens the list of colleges she can choose from.
Misiaszek has already shown how serious she is about working in the dental industry. She has worked at Farnham Dental Office for the past few months.
“They have trained me,” she said. “I sit in on surgeries and procedures and they are going to show me how to clean the equipment. I love the work I have done at Farnham.”
Misiaszek recently visited Minnesota State Mankato’s campus and talked with the school’s volleyball coach. She also has interest in attending the University of South Dakota and walking on to the volleyball team.
Both schools have dental programs, and Misiaszek said academics is the deciding factor with whatever college she chooses.
“I am still undecided when it comes down to it,” she said. “Academics come first.”
No matter where Misiaszek goes, her name will still be in the Mitchell High School because of the records she set.
“I like the fact that even though I am graduating, my name will be on the board at school,” she said. “When my younger sister, who is 11, is in high school, hopefully they will still be up so she can see the records.”
n Brecke helped lead Wagner to a second-place finish in the Class A state tournament.
Brecke led Wagner with 377 kills and had 80 aces this past season, and she was named to the Class A all-state first team.
n Doom helped lead Wagner’s offense throughout the year as the team’s setter.
Doom finished the year with 871 assists, and she led Wagner with 89 aces, and she was named to the Class A all-state first team.
n Robinson was a key part in Hanson’s seventh-place finish at the Class B state tournament this past season.
Robinson finished the year with 264 kills and 133 total blocks, and she was named to the Class B all-state second team.
n Nightingale led the White Lake to a 26-2 record this past season.
Nightingale was named to the Custer Battlefield Highway Conference MVP as she averaged 14.5 kills per match and 9.7 blocks per match this year.
n Cimpl was named to the Class A all-state second team.
Cimpl finished the year with 312 kills, 40 aces and 214 digs.
Past Daily Republic players of the year:
2001-Marcy Jacobsen, Mitchell
2002-Chelaine Knudsen, Andes Central
2002-Chelsey Miller, Mitchell
Note: 2002 season switch
2003-Katrina Brooks, Andes Central
2004-Gina Baldwin, Mitchell
2005-Kelli Fiegen, Parkston
2006-Jena Doom, Wagner
2007-Kelli Fiegen, Parkston
2008-Keaya Weber, Wagner
2009-Jilanne Doom, Wagner
2010-Charlee Nelson, Mitchell
2011-Dana Misiaszek, Mitchell