Boonville senior Dana Lester knew all along where she wanted to spend the next four years going to school and playing volleyball.
After a successful career for the Boonville Lady Pirates volleyball team, Lester finally made it official last week after signing a letter of intent with Central Methodist University in Fayette.
“CMU is such a friendly, welcoming campus and school,” Lester said. “I knew they would give me the right schooling and education I need to become successful. So far, I’ve had nothing but great experiences with them.”
A three-year starter for the Lady Pirates, Boonville volleyball coach Morgan Sprigg said Lester is not only a great kid, but a great athlete.
“I have been coaching Dana since she was in the seventh grade,” Sprigg said. “I have watched her grow throughout the years and become a better volleyball player. She is a very coachable athlete and I believe that this will continue on next year at the collegiate level. She really stepped it up this year and was a leader on the floor. I have enjoyed coaching Dana the last six years, I cannot pinpoint the best game that she has had in her career because there was never really a bad game that she played. Her offense really improved this last year and she was one of my best hitters on the floor. She knew where to place the ball to score and that is what I needed from her.”
While earning second team all-conference and all-districts this past season, Sprigg said Lester was also second in kills with 99.
“Dana never gave up on our team and led our team to victories,” Sprigg said. “I am so proud of her and what she has accomplished over the years. She will do great at the collegiate level and I believe that she will never let her team down. Central Methodist deserves this great athlete and I am honored to say that I have coached her.”
For her career, Lester finished with 645 attack attempts with 183 kills for a hitting percentage of 69  percent and kill percent of 28.4 percent. She also had 221 service points earned with 62 aces along with 155 digs, six total blocks (3 solos and 3 assisted) and five assists.
Central Methodist University volleyball coach Allison Jones-Olson said the Lady Eagles are excited for Lester to join the  CMU program. “We are looking for her to bring her experience as an all-conference and all-district outside hitter to the court at Central Methodist next fall,” Jones-Olson said. “We know that her calm demeanor on the floor will have an immediate impact on the team.”
Lester said as of right now she doesn’t know what position she will be playing in college.
“I am mainly an outside hitter but I will play wherever they need me and what is best for the team,” Lester said. “However my overall goals are to have fun and make successful seasons for both me and my teammates. I know we are going to work hard together so we are going to play hard together."
Lester said she knows that in order to compete at the next level, she will need to improve her mobility and vertical. Another improvement, she said, would be accuracy.
While playing volleyball since the young age of eight, Lester said she has never had one big influence for volleyball.
“All my coaches and mentors I have had over the year have given me such valuable skills as an athlete and person,” Lester said. “Each helping me to develop and improve my skills and abilities throughout my volleyball career.”
Although Lester has played in numerous big games throughout her career, she said the highlight was getting to learn and grow with the team. “My personal highlight would be our Eldon game this year,” Lester said. “We played extremely well as a team and it was a close game.”
Lester said before deciding on CMU, she was also looking at both State Fair Community College and UMKC for healthcare.