The Palm Desert girls volleyball team is led by southpaw standout Dakota Minker, a force at the net and a true competitor.
"Her being a senior, her being a lefty, and her being a returner. That's huge in the volleyball world," said Palm Desert Volleyball coach Melissa Walker. "Her leadership skills are incredible. She's able to put balls away for us offensively, get back to the service line and really get some good aces for us, too."
"I know a lot of the girls this year, we've been kind of a family at this point. And we have a lot of fun together. I've just been happy to find that because a lot of times you don't get that with teams," said Minker.
Minker brings passion to the court and the classroom. She holds a near 4.0 unweighted GPA while balancing a full-time volleyball schedule.
What's your favorite part about playing here at Palm Desert?
"The competition," said Minker. "I mean, in practice and games, we're always going at it. We're doing our best and it's a lot of fun."
"She's actually one where she's like, I'll play whatever position you want me to do and get after it. I trust her. I've known her for a long time she's really proven herself," said Walker.
Outside of the gym Dakota says she enjoys Firebirds hockey and has also has an obsession.
"I am a big reader. I read books every night," said Minker.
How many books do you think you have read?
"Close to 10,000 probably," said Minker. "I know just at home I have about 400 just in my room."
"It's weird because I've known her for so long and her family and so actually seeing her go away it's sad. But I hope that she just has a great time. I hope that she continues to lead everybody the best that she can and hopefully we can get her a lot of W's," said Walker.
The Student Athlete of the Week segment airs every Tuesday, profiling local high school seniors who are strong students, good athletes and outstanding people.
Stay with KESQ News Channel 3 for continuing coverage of local high school sports throughout the 2023-2024 school-year.