South Tahoe volleyer Brewer earns scholarship to Sonoma State
South Tahoe’s McKenna Brewer will play volleyball at the next level and is being paid to do so.
The senior signed her National Letter of Intent Wednesday in Carson City to play for the Sonoma State University Seawolves, a division II school in Rohnert Park, California. It was an event sponsored by the Silver State Volleyball Club, a team she has played with the past few years.
She had a more intimate and “special” ceremony with friends, family and coaches Thursday, Nov. 9, just outside the South Tahoe strength and conditioning room where she’s spent much time over the last two years as her weightlifting records on the wall prove. She ceremonially signed another NLT flanked by her parents Dave and Leigh Brewer.
“It feels amazing, all of the stress is gone,” said Brewer, who had an offer to walk-on at San Jose State and also from Simmons, a division III school in Boston that has a strong nursing program, her intended major. “I don’t have to work on recruiting videos. I don’t have to talk to coaches, it just feels really good for all the hard work to finally pay off.”
Brewer received an $8,000 scholarship for her first year and it is renewable for each of the following three years. It will be paid out equally between the fall and spring semesters and takes care of her entire tuition.
The 4.0 grade-point-average student is also applying for other scholarships to help pay for books and housing.
“When I went to the campus and met the coaches and team, I just fell in love,” Brewer said. “It’s a very cool campus and it’s pretty close to home, only three and a half hours. That’s a pretty good distance to be on my own but I can also come home when I want.”
Her parents plan to watch every game they can and are so proud they couldn’t keep smiles off their faces, even if they tried, during the ceremony.
“It’s super,” said Dave Brewer. “She started out in seventh grade and you don’t really think about her getting this far with it. When you’re looking at your little girl and she’s 4 foot tall and then she becomes a junior and she’s 6 feet tall … even a little girl from South Tahoe can do this.”
Brewer, who has Type 1 diabetes and has to manage her blood sugar levels, first started playing volleyball in the seventh grade and came onto the radar of Silver State Volleyball club coach Dan McLaughlin in eighth grade. McLaughlin coached Brewer for two years and was at the letter signing.
“Sonoma State got themselves a good one,” McLaughlin said. “I’m proud of her. She’s one of the most dominant players in northern Nevada. I know her work ethic and I know her personality and Sonoma is very fortunate to have her. She’s gonna do well in college.”
Brewer capped off her senior year as a first team 3A Northern All-League first teamer. She finished the season first in blocks, fifth in kills and 10th in service aces in the 3A division. She was second team all-league her junior season and played on varsity for three years.
Vikings head coach Kelly Racca watched firsthand the last two years how Brewer dominated and intimidated her opponents and how other coaches would game plan around her.
“She’s amazing and she deserves this,” Racca said. “I love that we have some younger girls here because Kenna is their role model. She worked so hard and did it herself. I was just a speck on her journey and I’m blessed to be on her path. To see her shine like this, it’s nice to see for her and her parents.”
Brewer knew she wanted to be a nurse since she was young. Her original idea was to work with families and their newborns, but once she was diagnosed with diabetes, her view changed. Now she wants to assist newly diagnosed diabetics.
“The things she has to overcome everyday, it’s just a shining example that these obstacles are merely speed bumps,” Racca said. “That’s how she looks at everything in life, she just keeps moving forward and she never got down on herself or her teammates. She takes in the freshmen and mentors them. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She’s someone I want my own kid to hang out with.”
Brewer will forever remember beating Truckee in five sets on senior night, the first time the Vikings had beaten the rival Wolverines since 2013, and league leader Fernley in the same week leading up to playoffs. She is going to miss practicing with her teammates and coaches.
“I’m going to miss all of them, but I’m excited for my future,” Brewer said.
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