Even though school was cancelled Wednesday at Plano West, Lady Wolves senior Whitney Jaynes had a plan in place for National Signing Day.
“I figured I could just wake up whenever, sign my paperwork, fax it in and then take a picture,” Jaynes said.
It would not be that simple as the electricity was out at the Jaynes’ household and the girls soccer standout couldn’t fax her paperwork to the University of Texas until 4 p.m.
But that is typical for Jaynes, whose high school career has been anything but simple.
Jaynes burst on to the varsity scene as a freshman in the 2008 season, forming a lethal scoring combination for West alongside Lynda Hercules.
Jaynes was poised to return for a big sophomore campaign and beyond.
But Jaynes wouldn’t take the field again for West until 2010.
Jayne’s life changed in the summer of 2008 at a Region III soccer camp during a mishap while attempting to open a window.
“I cut all the tendons in my hand, severed the nerves and severed the main artery,” Jaynes said. “I could have died.”
Jaynes would recover medically, but that ordeal, combined with missing extended periods of school during her sophomore year to play overseas with the national team, left Jaynes in a fragile emotional state.
“I was getting so far behind in school and had so much time to make up, it was overwhelming,” she said. “Before the second semester I told my parents I really needed to get some of the stress off.”
Jaynes’ parents acquiesced and she transferred to Spring Creek Academy.
During this time, the recruitment process of Jaynes heated up. Currently ranked as the No. 28 player nationally in the Class of 2011 by topdrawersoccer, Jaynes drew interest from across the country beginning her freshman year and narrowed her list of school choices down to Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State by her sophomore year. Jaynes, who plays club for Dallas Texans ’93 Red, made an unofficial visit to Austin in the summer of 2009 and verbally committed to join the Longhorns.
But even after securing her collegiate future, Jaynes wanted more.
“I missed playing at West,” she said, “and I wanted that high school experience.”
Jaynes, having since transferred back to West for her junior year, talked with Lady Wolves head coach Jennifer Grubb and was accepted back on the team after missing the first half of District 8-5A play.
“I love coach Grubb,” Jaynes said, “she has helped me so much.”
Jaynes made a quick impact at forward, as evidenced by her two goals in the team’s 4-0 victory over Duncanville to begin the playoffs.
But Jaynes’ high school run was about to take another turn and come to an abrupt end.
In a physical area-round match against Colleyville Heritage, Jaynes was pulled down from behind and tore her ACL.
“I had never blown out my ACL before, but I heard something pop and I knew,” Jaynes said. “I was devastated when it happened. And it wasn’t the physical pain, it was the mental pain more than anything.”
But Jaynes found a strong support system to lean on.
“My team was awesome,” she said. “Everyone was so nice and I stayed with them up through the regional tournament.”
West’s loss to McKinney Boyd in the Region I Finals brought an official end to the Lady Wolves’ season as well as Jaynes’ truncated varsity career.
“I had so much fun with that team; and some of my best memories are of playing high school soccer,” Jaynes said. “But I didn’t really know how long my recovery would be and going into my senior year I wanted to focus on getting healthy and getting back to where I was before the injury.”
The bond Jaynes had with her varsity teammates was evident by her plans for National Signing Day. Over the past five years, West students no longer on the team have had a club-only signing ceremony at the school. That wasn’t going to be the case for Jaynes as she was set to sign alongside varsity seniors Haley Pratt (Arkansas), Sam Wolf (Arkansas) and Kate Anderson (Ole Miss) before weather closed Plano ISD schools and postponed West’s signing ceremony.
With that postponement, Jaynes’ new schedule Wednesday included sleeping late and then faxing her paperwork in when she woke up.
But even that didn’t go according to plan as then power went down at 7:30 a.m. and remained out until 4 p.m.
“I usually just go with the flow, so I tried not to panic and emailed the assistant coach at Texas to let them know what was going on,” Jaynes said. “But I was definitely eager to get the power back on and get this over with.”
While Jaynes waited, her parents Richie and Cindy had a different idea.
“My mom told me to go clean my room,” Jaynes said with a laugh.
Jaynes accomplished that task and eventually got her paperwork sent in, officially making her a Longhorn. She will likely play outside back for Texas.
“It was more of a relief than when I made my verbal commitment,” Jaynes said. “And it got me one step closer to the fall and getting to Austin.”
And many of those steps, while not always good ones, took place at West.
“It was such a rollercoaster, but I don’t regret any of it,” Jaynes said. “Playing at West was one of the best experiences of my life; it made me a better player and a better person.”
Which is probably why Jaynes has kept close watch of a Lady Wolves team that is 9-0-0 this season and currently ranked No. 2 in the country by ESPN RISE.
“I know a lot of those girls still and we all get along so well,” Jaynes said. “I would love to be playing with them, but that team has a lot of heart and they always work hard, so I know they’ll do well.”