ST. JOSEPH (WCIA) — This is a season Anna Wentzloff had to fight for. Last season, she was battling something far greater than just an opponent on the other side of the net.
“It was really upsetting that I didn’t get to play with them my junior year, but I told myself I’m going to be with them next year on the court. I’m going to be with them at the start of the season.”
On August 30th, 2018, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, at just 16 years old. She had to miss her junior season of volleyball to undergo treatment.
“I tired not to think of it as being scary,” says Wentzloff. “I just tired to think of it as something I got to get through.”
After five rounds of Chemotherapy lasting nearly five months, as well as several bouts of radiation treatment, Anna is now cancer-free. She’s been in remission since March. Now she’s back on the court, but when she wasn’t this year, the support of her teammates was always there.
“Everytime we stepped on the court, we played for her,” says senior Katelyn Berry. “She always had a smile on her face with everything she did, which is hard to do when you’re going through something like that, which says something about the kind of person she is.”
“It taught our program how successful we can be when we fight for something,” says head coach Abby McDonald. “We’re fighting for a volleyball win, but it was nothing in comparison to what she was battling off the court.”
The battle for Anna is different this season, as she gets to cap-off her high school career in no ordinary fashion. The Spartans will compete in the State semifinals for the first time since 2016.
“To be a part of this team this year, and to actually be here with them is awesome,” says Wentzloff. “This has been our goal since freshman year. Just knowing we get to play our last game as seniors at Redbird is an amazing feeling.”
The Spartans will play Mater Dei in the 2A State Semifinals, but it’s clear they’re fighting for so much more than just a State Championship.
The semifinal game is set for 12 P.M. CT at Redbird arena on Friday, November 15th.