For the first time in recent memory, a Ririe High School athlete has signed with a college volleyball program.

This milestone went to Erith Hayes, who signed her letter of intent last week with Edmonds Community College in the foyer of Ririe’s gym in the presence of family members, administrators, friends and classmates. The two-year school is a member of the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) and is located in Lynnwood, Wash., about 16 miles north of Seattle.

Although she did not know the exact year Ririe’s last volleyball recruit signed with a college, Hayes knew she was the first in a long time.

“Thinking about it, I was like ‘Wow,’” Hayes said. “The Ririe program has had a really hard time getting up, but it’s getting better.”

Hayes reached out to Edmonds and received a call back from head coach Tony Miranda soon after. After multiple conversations, Hayes agreed to visit the campus the week after Thanksgiving. She stayed overnight, practiced with the team and toured the facilities. The next week, she accepted Miranda’s offer.

“All the players on the team were super nice,” Hayes said. “It was a great fit for me.”

She added that she is looking forward to playing in a conference that features another local athlete, Rigby’s Taiylor Bybee, who signed earlier this month with Walla Walla Community College for volleyball.

Hayes began playing volleyball in fourth grade thanks to her dad, who is a club volleyball director. She has played at the club and school levels ever since. She has known for a while that she wanted to play college sports, but how to go about it didn’t become clear until last year.

“It wasn’t a reality for me until last year when I got my first track offer,” Hayes said. “I wasn’t positive I wanted to go for track because I like volleyball a lot better.”

Hayes was recruited as a middle, which is what she has played at the club and school levels. She said it is good to not only know where she is going to school, but that she is going to continue her volleyball career. She will report to Edmonds in late July to join the team, and she plans to use the next seven months to improve.

“It’s great that I signed now instead of at the end of the (school) year because I have things I can work on,” Hayes said. “When I went to their practice, I saw things I could work on.”

Marlowe Hereford

Post Register

Marlowe Hereford is a sports reporter for the Post Register. Contact her at 542-6772 and find her on Twitter: @mwhereford.