TRUCKEE — The Wolverines’ latest college recruits won’t even have to pack a jacket when they leave for school.
Truckee senior standouts Alex Straw and Mackenzie Redner signed their national letters of intent in the school gym on Thursday, each moving one step closer to their soon-to-be, warm-climate homes.
Straw received a scholarship to swim at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. Redner received a full-ride to play volleyball at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“I wanted to go somewhere beachy and warm, and it’s perfect. I love it. It has its own private beach,” Redner said of Division II Eckerd College, which is located along the Gulf of Mexico, at the mouth of Tampa Bay. “And it’s nice because it’s small. I’m real excited.”
Both student-athletes left their marks at Truckee. And Straw isn’t done just yet.
As a junior, Straw led the upstart Truckee swim team at the Division I-A state championship meet in Carson City this past spring. He won state titles in both the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke, establishing new school records with times of 1:54.72 and 56.70, respectively.
Along with Jake Hamilton and brothers Kaleb and Marcus Rodarte, Straw also helped lead the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay teams to second-place finishes, again in school record times of 1:39.19 and 1:30.95, respectively. After the meet, Straw was named one of three Northern swimmers of the year.
“I’m really, really proud of him,” said Olympic gold medal swimmer Debbie Meyer, Straw’s coach for the past six years with the Truckee Tahoe Swim Team. “He’s going to do real well. They have a great program over there and great weight training.”
Straw said he will stick to his strongest events at Division I Hawaii — the 100 breast, 200 breast and 200 IM. So far he’s received an athletic scholarship that covers 35 percent of his tuition, although he hopes to bump up that percentage by recording an exceptional time at nationals in two weeks.
“I’m looking to go 55 (seconds) in the 100 breast, and that will hopefully bring my scholarship up,” said Straw, whose time of 56.70 at state last season would rank among the top five times ever recorded in the event by a University of Hawaii swimmer. Perry Sharify holds the Rainbow Warriors’ record in the 100 breast, at 55.33.
“I’m trying to make NCAAs within two years, and I’d like to win a couple of conference championships for Hawaii, which is pretty solid,” said Straw, who already has a big fan on the island in Meyer’s 6-year-old granddaughter.
“I’m going to miss him. But I tell you what, my granddaughter who lives in Honolulu is going to love it. She absolutely loves Alex,” Meyer said.
Redner wrapped up her Truckee volleyball career the week before last. An impressive career it was.
The heavy-handed and athletic, 6-foot senior was a dominant force at her outside hitter position the past three years. She helped lead the Wolverines to their third consecutive state championship her sophomore year, while Truckee played into the state semifinal round her junior and senior years.
Redner earned All-League honors each of her three years on varsity. She was league MVP as a junior and was the only Truckee player to receive first-team All-League and All-State recognition as a senior.
“She just has an incredible work ethic,” said Truckee volleyball coach Erika Murphy. “She doesn’t take shortcuts. And she is able to do amazing things in the air. She’s very athletic and agile in the air. Even if she gets a bad pass, she’s able to just turn and hit.”
Redner, who learned about Eckerd College from a former coach — she’s already visited the campus twice — said she will remain at outside hitter. “It will be nice to not have to switch positions,” she said.
“I think she’ll do fabulous. Academically, she’s there, and then athletically, she’s a solid, in-shape player,” Murphy said. “She’s really put on a lot of muscle. She has a really good foundation that I think she’s just going to build on when she gets to college. That will be fun to watch, because I think she’ll just hit the ground running.”