WHEELERSBURG – At her signing ceremony Wednesday afternoon, Wheelersburg senior Abbie Kallner signed her letter of intent to play collegiate basketball at Shawnee State University beginning next season, a moment she says has been a long time coming.
“It’s such an honor,” Kallner said. “If I’m being completely honest, it’s a moment I’ve looked forward to since I was a little girl. I’ve always said that’s where I’ve wanted to play, and so to have this happening is very fulfilling, and to be a part of such a great program is really special to me.”
Kallner will leave Wheelersburg as one of the most successful female athletes to ever don the orange and black, on both the basketball and volleyball court.
During her time on the volleyball court, Kallner became the all-time leading assister in Wheelersburg history from her setter position, finishing her career with over 2,000 assists as well as leading her team to an outright SOC II, sectional, and district title during her senior season.
If that doesn’t impress you, wait till you hear her numbers on the basketball court. Kallner finishes third all time on the Wheelersburg scoring list with 1,251 career points while helping the Pirates to an 82-19 record in her four years, 49-7 in the SOC II. To boot, Kallner helped the Pirates claim three SOC II titles, four sectional titles, a district championship, as well as the Pirates magical run to the Elite Eight earlier this season.
“As much as I would have liked to make it to ‘the Schott’ and win that regional title, I can’t complain with what I’ve accomplished here,” Kallner said. “Won districts in volleyball, made it to the Elite Eight in basketball, that’s the farthest one of our girls’ teams have ever gone. Dad and I were talking the other day, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever had more fun doing something. It’s great that I’ll have those memories to look back on and be thankful that happened.”
With all of her success on the court, it would be remiss if no one mentioned how great of a kid Kallner is. Rather than trying to explain that, it’s probably better if a few of the people who helped groom her do so: her coaches.
“Abbie is one of the most cerebral players that I’ve gotten the chance to coach,” said Wheelersburg volleyball coach Allen Perry. “I could talk to her and we could work out strategy together, that’s very important to have in a setter. As a leader, she was unquestionably a leader by example. She is an extremely hard worker and expects her teammates to work hard along with her. As a person, I really appreciate her excellent work ethic and acceptance of me and the buy-in of the system that I wanted to run. She is more than deserving of this opportunity, and we are surely going to miss her.”
“Abbie the person is even better than Abbie the basketball player,” said Wheelersburg head basketball coach Dusty Spradlin. “She is friendly, outgoing, and it will be strange not to see that smile that was so infectious in our hallways next fall. In addition to being an outstanding volleyball and basketball player, she is also a terrific student. The same energy and effort that people see on the court is the type of student that we see in the classroom. During her career she has represented herself, her family, her school, and her community with great character and dignity. We want to thank her for all her contributions to the basketball program and wish her the best of luck in her next chapter of life.”
Kallner joins a Shawnee State basketball program that has had almost unparalleled success. Becoming a Bear was an easy decision for her, and an even easier decision for head coach Jeff Nickel to bring her in as a part of his program.
“Abbie is what we look for in an athlete at Shawnee State, especially our women’s basketball program,” Nickel said. “She’s an outstanding student, an outstanding athlete, and led her team to an outstanding season. She’s someone we’ve known for a long time, known her family a long time, all of that should lead to an easy transition for us.”
Graduation for Kallner and all Scioto County seniors is quickly approaching, but that doesn’t mean that she will soon forget the years of support and encouragement she’s received from the entire Wheelersburg community.
“We joke because we’re all Pirates, but there’s nothing like the Wheelersburg community,” Kallner said. “Every sporting event, you’re always believed in and always feel the support of the community. Before our regional semifinal game, the first grade classes made good luck signs for us, and I think that speaks volumes of the culture and community we have.”