Versatile Newton finds fit at Wake Tech

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Katherine Newton has seen just about every position and every angle during her time in a Fike High volleyball uniform.

As a freshman, she was a middle blocker before transitioning to a right-side hitter.

But its her prowess on the opposite side that has provided the springboard to a collegiate opportunity.

Thus, Thursday afternoon in front of an informal setting of teammates, parents and supporters, Newton officially made her college choice by signing a National Letter of Intent with Wake Tech of the National Junior College Athletic Association ranks.

Newton, the daughter of Brian and Kristie Newton of Wilson, plans to major in radiology at the two-year school, which posted a 22-10 record and a 10-5 conference showing. Eagles head coach Stephanie Sports, who will be entering her eighth year at the helm of Wake Tech volleyball in the fall, also recruited current Fike coach Jalessa Harper while building the volleyball program at Johnston Community College.

A member of the Wilson Elite travel team, Newton’s decision to choose Wake Tech over interest from Cape Fear Community College came down to family proximity.

“I just feel like Wake Tech is closer,” Newton said. “My parents are in Wilson, my dad works in Raleigh and my sister is at N.C. State. I would rather be closer than two hours away from home.”

As a senior, Newton was second on the Lady Golden Demons in kills with 126 and led Fike from the service line with 54 aces. Her 27 blocks ranked third on the roster and allowed Newton to contribute capably on defense along the front row.

“They need an outside player to jump in,” Newton said. “I wouldn’t just be playing outside. I would be playing multiple positions. So I look forward to joining the team.”

Harper assured Newton would perform at Wake Tech, regardless of position.

“She’s the type of player that any coach would want to coach,” Harper said. “Anywhere I’ve put her, she’s performed. Whether it’s outside, right side, middle or defense, she can literally play anywhere you put her on the court. So whatever I needed her to do, she did. It was awesome to watch.”

Fike finished 9-13 in Newton’s senior season, including a 5-5 record in the 3-A Big East Conference and a trip to the tournament semifinals. In Harper’s three seasons at Fike, she has deployed Newton in at least three different positions.

Sports said that Wake Tech, in the past two seasons, hasn’t had a player it could call a “true” outside hitter or middle player. Newton will be called upon to potentially fill the void, particularly on the outside.

“I hate to say it, but that’s my thoughts and that’s my plan,” Sports said. “You never know what’s going to happen until August rolls around and you see how the pieces fit together. You kind of have it in your mind, but then it’s going to end up based on what our personnel does when we put them all together.”