Kaitlyn Rogers and London Austin-Roark began playing volleyball together in the first grade through the Weatherford School District's Community Education program. The plan was to play together through high school.
While they have indeed been playing together for the Weatherford Lady High Kangaroos, helping the team become one of the best in North Texas, their on-court relationship will not end after their senior seasons.
The duo have signed letters-of-intent to play for Texas A&M University next season. The signing is a rarity, two players graduating from high school in the same year receiving scholarships to play for the same college.
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In fact, such an occurrence is uncommon even for football, a sport with much larger rosters than volleyball.
"It's very rare, especially at a (NCAA) Division I well-respected program like A&M," Weatherford coach Nick Gay said. 'Any time you get two kids to a big school, that's something really special. It kind of puts Weatherford on the map in volleyball.
"They have the bodies and length to play in the SEC (Southeast Conference), one of the tougher conferences in the nation."
Austin-Roark is a 6-4 middle blocker. Rogers is a 6-2 setter. They have both been on the varsity since they were freshmen, helping turn the program around from second-tier to District 3-6A co-champions last season (with Keller).
It was the first playoff berth for the Lady Roos since 2009.
"At first we weren't too sure," Austin-Roark said of their friendship, then adding with a laugh, "But after a couple of weeks we became inseparable."
Rogers said the two are "like sisters."
Along with playing for the Lady Roos, the two play for Club Texas. It was at one of their tournaments they got the good news from an A&M scout.
"They saw us and fell in love with us," Austin-Roark said. "They could see the connection we have. It happened really quick, so we really didn't have time to think, but that's okay because we both love that school."
Austin-Roark's father went to Texas A&M and is a 1993 graduate. Rogers' sister Krista, a 2015 WHS graduate, is a junior at A&M (though not a volleyball player).
"It's always been kind of my dream school," Austin-Roark said.
"That was a big factor," Rogers said of her sister. "As soon as we visited I fell in love with the campus and the coaches."
Rogers said she is undecided on her major, but is considering becoming a coach. Austin-Roark would like to do something in the field of medicine, though she said she is still "technically undecided."
Both said signing early as juniors is a relief as now they can focus solely on what they hope will be the best season in Lady Roos history.
"It's definitely a relief not having to worry about it," Austin-Roark said.
"It's out of the way, you know where you're going and you concentrate on the season," Rogers said.
Following their example, junior Carissa Barnes has committed to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to play as a libero.
"For me, it frees us up," Gay, who is also a club team coach, said. "It's stressful, the recruiting process. You get pulled in a bunch of directions. This frees their minds, their parents' minds as well."
In the meantime, the duo say they are far from finished with high school ball. Last season the Lady Roos finished 33-6, but were upset in bidstrict by Arlington Lamar.
"I think last year was a very good season, but this year we're playing a lot harder teams in predistrict," Austin-Roark said.
"That was a learning experience, and we don't want it to happen again," Rogers said. "We want to keep playing with each other as Lady Roos for as long as we can."