Evie Waite signing

Rockland’s Evie Waite (center) smiles after signing to play volleyball at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, on Monday in a ceremony at Rockland High School. Flanking Waite, from left, are Rockland volleyball coach Shalissa Tomkinson and Waite’s mother, Tina Ellett.

Dobbs Ferry, New York, is over 2,000 miles from Rockland, a drive of nearly two full days or a cross-country flight away.

None of that bothered Rockland’s Evie Waite, who signed to play volleyball at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry in a ceremony Monday.

“I’m pretty adventurous, and I’m just excited to do it,” Waite said. “I think it’ll be a great adventure.”

Waite was a multi-sport athlete for Rockland, but stood out most on the volleyball court, where she was the top hitter for the Bulldogs’ state-tournament team this season.

She also played on Rockland’s basketball team that won the first state championship in school history, and has previously competed in track.

Despite that, she knew that she only wanted to pursue one sport in college, and that it would be volleyball, which she’s played since middle school.

”Volleyball is definitely my favorite,” Waite said. “My freshman year, I decided that was the one I wanted to work on probably the most. It’s more enjoyable for me, I think it’s always been my favorite.”

That answered the what. Waite’s affinity for adventure sealed the where.

One of her family members lived in New York for a while, and although she never got to visit, hearing about it made an impression.

”It was kind of surreal,” Waite said. “It’s kind of always been a dream of mine to live in New York and to play volleyball. With Mercy College, I get to do both.”

Mercy, a Division II school, is located just up the Hudson River from New York City.

Waite was also looking at schools in Connecticut, Washington and Colorado.

Mercy reached out to her late, but when the Mavericks’ coach called her a few weeks ago, it didn’t take much for Waite to make her decision, despite being unable to visit the campus in person.

”I did do some virtual tours,” Waite said. “The process was fast. It only took about two or three phone calls until I was committed.”

Waite will also receive an academic scholarship from Mercy, where she plans to study health sciences.

The Mavericks volleyball team went 14-18 in 2019, making the four-team East Coast Conference tournament for the first time since 2008.