Stewart

Port Charlotte volleyball player McKenzie Stewart, flanked by coach Christine Burkhart, left, and mother Catherine Stewart, right, signs her letter of intent to play at State College of Florida, Friday. Stewart was second on the team with 43 aces this past season.

Signing days are always a joyous occasion. The reflection and culmination of a high school career and the hope for future accomplishments at the college level.

Port Charlotte’s McKenzie Stewart was the latest local athlete to join the college ranks. She signed with State College of Florida to continue her career.

“It feels good because I’m ready to move on and start volleyball and start my career,” Stewart said.

Stewart was a standout volleyball player for the Lady Pirates and helped claim the district title as a senior.

Her leadership and aggression was a big part of Port Charlotte’s success. She evolved from a shy freshman to a vocal senior, who finished second on the team with 43 aces this year.

“She came in with her head down and yes ma’am no ma’am and was just very shy,” Port Charlotte coach Christine Burkhart said. “By the end here, she’s a completely different kid. We need her on the court because of the energy that she brings and the leadership she brings. She was directing people on the court where they were supposed to go, being that extra fire. Everything about her we needed.”

Stewart received a full ride to SCF, which was a big reason she chose to sign. Though she’s leaving the Lady Pirates behind, she’s pleased with everything she accomplished while there.

“A lot of it was the money I was getting, I’m getting a full ride,” Stewart said. “It’s also a beautiful campus and close to home too.

“I made some great friends here and will continue to be friends with them for the rest of my life. That’s my favorite thing about playing volleyball, the people that I’ve met.”

Email Jacob Hoag at jacob.hoag@yoursun.com and follow him on Twitter @ByJacobHoag.

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