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2019 Ms. Volleyball: Mia Wesley’s competitive nature and tireless work ethic set her apart

From a young age, Mia Wesley showed the superior athleticism and a mindset similar to that of her famous father

Mountain View High School’s Mia Wesley, pictured in Orem on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, is the Deseret News Ms. Volleyball honoree for 2019.
Mountain View High School’s Mia Wesley, pictured in Orem on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, is the Deseret News Ms. Volleyball honoree for 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

OREM — Mia Wesley didn’t exactly hit the ground running with her volleyball career, but a number of significant attributes combined to send her off as the best prep player in the state for the 2019 season.

The 5-foot-11 Mountain View outside hitter finished out on top, guiding her team to a state championship with her exceptional play, hyper-competitive nature and superior work ethic she’s developed over time.

“We’re going to miss her so much,” said Mountain View coach Jaicee Roden. “I get emotional just thinking about not having her here because of what she’s meant to the program and just how much I’ve grown to love her. She’s special.”

Becoming a special player doesn’t just happen, although Wesley showed superior athletic ability at an early age, despite an inauspicious to her play. The occasion came when she was in the sixth grade, taking the court for the very first time and not being all that familiar with the rules.

“My first big play I remember blocking the shot, and I just started yelling because I was so excited,” Wesley recalled.

The problem was the block came off a serve, leaving Wesley confused and a bit agitated.

“I just remember being so mad when the ref gave the point to the other team, but I quickly learned from there.”

What Wesley has never lacked is a competitive fire, which is easily assumed when considering her bloodlines. Her father is former BYU basketball great: Mekeli Wesley, a player most fans will remember for his competitive nature, which would often agitate opponents while benefitting his team considerably throughout his four-year career.

For Mia, her father’s competitive nature was directly transferred to her and encouraged in just about every activity.

“I grew up with my dad and uncles, who most of all of them played college basketball, so everything was competitive in our house,” Mia said. “Even a game of spoons involves a lot of trash-talking and just no one wants to lose, ever.”

Mia took that competitive nature to the Mountain View volleyball team as a freshman, unafraid of the competition despite her inexperience.

“Oh, I definitely thought I was better than I was when I first started out,” Mia said. “I remember going to practices and just talking trash to the seniors and thinking I was all that. I had a lot to learn, and I’ve definitely learned to interact better with my teammates and to be more encouraging.”

For Roden, she noticed Mia’s potential immediately.

“I knew she came from an athletic family, but she worked hard that first year and earned playing time immediately,” Roden said. “She wasn’t nearly as tall back then, but her athleticism made up for a lot of how small she was back then.”

Mia would add inches and a lot of practice time and study in the coming years, developing into the player she is now.

“Mia is one of the hardest workers I know and she’s just a fighter with a great mindset,” Roden said. “She’s so dedicated to becoming the best player she can be and spends so much time in the gym and watching film — she’s really put in the time and still does.”

As for the trash-talking, it’s still there, although it comes as a refined product these days.

“I do my trash-talking through the net now — certainly not toward my own teammates nearly as much,” Mia said. “I’m real protective of my teammates and try to always have their backs, and that’s what I think helped bring us together this year. We all defend one another no matter what and support each other, no matter what.”

Roden agrees with the assessment, feeling Mia’s leadership was a central factor in winning a state championship.

“One of my favorite things about her is how she stands up for people,” Roden said. “She stands up for what she knows is right and yeah, she absolutely stands up for all her teammates. It’s been a huge benefit for everyone having her behind them, encouraging them.”

Encouraging Mia throughout her career, which will continue collegiately at Portland, was her family and particularly her father.

“He really doesn’t know much about volleyball, but he definitely understands what it takes to become a top athlete,” Mia said. “He doesn’t take it easy on me and has no problem telling me when I’m just not getting it done. Having the support from him has been huge, along with the rest of my family. I’ve definitely been blessed by an awesome family, coaches, teammates and just everyone.”