Utah Volleyball Inks Three Future Utes on Signing Day
SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah volleyball program has announced the addition of three future student-athletes, welcoming middle blocker KJ Burgess, setter Viktoria Wahlgren, and outside hitter Ashley West to the program. Burgess and Wahlgren are set to join the Utes this spring, while West will head to Salt Lake City in time for the 2022 season.
KJ Burgess • MB • 6-2 • Highland, Utah (Lone Peak HS)
Burgess comes to the Utah volleyball program as a three-time state champion at Lone Peak High School. Burgess was a first team All-State selection as a junior after recording 215 kills on a .367 hitting percentage, along with 97 blocks. This year as a senior in her third state championship run in just as many years, Burgess totaled 183 kills with a .375 hitting percentage, and collected 105 blocks. To add to the excitement of signing day, Burgess was just named a second-team AVCA High School All-American on Wednesday, Nov. 12 after her stellar senior season. The middle blocker also earned honorable mention All-State honors as a sophomore in 2019.
The local product is the daughter of Chris and Lesa Burgess, who were both student-athletes at the University of Utah. Chris played basketball at Duke before transferring to Utah for his final two seasons, while Lesa was a soccer player. Her father Chris is currently the assistant men's basketball coach at BYU.
Burgess is an honor roll student at Lone Peak High School and plays club volleyball with Club V. She has four younger siblings: Zoey, Ava, Beckham and Zachary. She is expected to graduate from high school next month (December 2021).
"KJ is a 6'2 phenomenal athlete with tremendous upside," said head coach Beth Launiere. "She plays high above the net and has a great arm swing that makes her a very offensive middle blocker. She has played for great coaches at her high school and club, and comes to the U with high-level experience. She has won three-straight high school championships and is one of the top players to come out of the state of Utah. We are very excited to have KJ and her family as part of the Utah Volleyball family."
And last but not least, please help us welcome local standout KJ Burgess to the Utah Volleyball family!! ??
— Utah Volleyball (@UtahVolleyball) November 11, 2021
Viktoria Wahlgren • S • 6-1 • Burlington, Ontario, Canada (Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School)
Wahlgren plays for the Canadian National Excellence Program where she represented Team Canada on the Junior National Team at the U18 World Championships in Durango, Mexico. The Burlington, Ontario native was also the team captain in 2021. She was named the best setter of the Washington Capital Hill Classic, where her team finished as the runner-ups, and was on the All-Star Team for the Ohio Power League in 2020. She also was a member of the winning team at 2020 OFFSA Championship, which is the Ontario High School provincials event, with her school team.
Wahlgren, who plays with Defensa as her club team, was selected as one of the top-16 U18 women's volleyball players in Canada during 2020-21 to attend a full-time training camp. The camp allowed her to train at the Richmond Olympic Oval in Vancouver while attending school online during the COVID-19 shutdowns.
Her parents David and Denyse Wahlgren were both student-athletes at the University of Tulsa with her father David being a member of the golf team, while Denyse played volleyball. Wahlgren is expected to graduate at the end of this calendar year as a 4.0 student. She has two younger sisters, Ella and Natalie.
"Viktoria comes to Utah as a 6'1 setter with good size, nice hands and great athleticism," said Launiere. "She is recognized as one of the top setters in Canada and has gained valuable national team program training and international competition experience. She has intangibles that match her physical qualities that blend nicely for a setter. We're happy she is coming in January to begin training with our program and can't wait to have her and her family as part of the Utah Volleyball family."
Coming to us all the way from Ontario, Canada... please help us give a warm welcome to setter Viktoria Wahlgren ??
— Utah Volleyball (@UtahVolleyball) November 10, 2021
Ashley West • OH • 6-4 • Arvada, Colo. (Ralston Valley HS)
West plays club for Front Range Volleyball where she was an Under Armour All-American nominee this year. In the past year, West and her club team have finished fifth at the Junior Club Nationals (Open Div.) and won the Far Western National Qualifier. West's squad came in as the runner-ups at the Colorado Crossroads National Qualifier and finished first in the Rocky Mountain Region for her age group.
Although she did not play volleyball for her high school, West was the pitcher and first baseman for Ralston Valley High School's softball team where she was first team All-Conference and first team All-State her sophomore year. West comes from an athletic family with her sister Jordan being a softball player at Colorado State this year and her mother Khara was a softball player at Nebraska, while her father Derek was a member of Colorado football's national championship team in 1990 and went on to play in the NFL for five seasons.
The daughter of Derek and Khara West was in the National Honors Society her junior year and was involved in MMP, which is a freshman mentor program. She is expected to graduate from Ralston Valley HS in the spring of 2022.
"Ashley is a 6'4 six rotation outside hitter with strong offensive abilities and passing skills," said Launiere. "She is a two-sport athlete that has excelled not only at volleyball, but also softball at the national level. Ashley is a high-level competitor that has just begun to tap into her potential as a volleyball player. We look forward to Ashley and her family being a part of the Utah Volleyball program."
So excited to announce the addition of outside hitter Ashley West to the Utah Volleyball family ????
— Utah Volleyball (@UtahVolleyball) November 10, 2021