Clute provides boost for district-champ Wildcats

Senior Kennadie Clute goes all-out for the Mt. Spokane Wildcats. (Jesse Tinsley)
Senior Kennadie Clute goes all-out for the Mt. Spokane Wildcats. (Jesse Tinsley)

Kennadie Clute was going to be a basketball player. And it was apparent – early on – that the height advantage was there for the 6-foot Mt. Spokane senior.

She hated that.

“I was actually the tallest in my elementary school – I was almost taller than some of the teachers,” Clute said.

She changed her mind, though, and not just about her height. There was a shift in focus after she started playing volleyball in junior high for “something else to do.”

“I was so into basketball,” Clute said. “I had basically been playing my whole life. But I started playing volleyball in seventh grade, and in eighth grade I started playing club ball and I just fell in love with it. I just kept going.”

That quickly became her main drive – to the point where she opted to give volleyball most of her attention as a junior at Mt. Spokane. Instead of trying out for the basketball team, she focused her efforts on speed, agility and jump training.

The work paid off, as Clute has established herself as one of the most powerful hitters in the league while also being one of the top defensive players in the back row – unusual for someone as tall as Clute.

She’ll play basketball this year as a senior “for something fun to do with friends,” and next year she’ll play volleyball at Montana State – which she has orally committed. Clute signs her letter of intent on Nov. 14.

“It’s nerve wracking and exciting at the same time,” Clute said. “It’s a huge step to go from playing in high school to the level they play at in college, but I couldn’t be more excited. I absolutely love the school.”

Her favorite part about Montana State was the fact that they loved her back.

“I was hearing from a few schools, but I was always waiting as their No. 2 or No. 3 choice,” she said. “They were always waiting to hear back from someone else before they could give me a final answer. With Montana State, they made it clear they really wanted me. That gave me a good feeling and that got the ball rolling.”

There’s still some unfinished business for Clute and the Wildcats.

They’ve been to the State 3A tournament the past two seasons, and Clute would like to end her career on the same note.

“I think we have a pretty good chance of making it back, and that’s really all I want,” Clute said. “I want to be able to say that I went to state my senior year. Especially because we were kind of underdogs this year – nobody thought we would be doing this well.”

The Wildcats seem to be peaking at the right time. They beat University for the District 8 3A title on Tuesday and will be the top seed out of the Greater Spokane League in the upcoming regional tournament.

“I think we shocked a lot of people,” Clute said. “And we’re getting better and I think we will keep shocking people. I’m pretty confident in my team and that’s what I’ll miss so much – playing with the girls at Mt. Spokane.”

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