BRADENTON -- When it came to furthering her volleyball career, as well as her education, Kayla Armer started looking close to home.
Manatee's senior setter considered Saint Leo and Barry University in Miami.
But ultimately, Armer wanted to expand her experiences and attend school outside of Florida.
Armer took a big step toward doing so Wednesday when she signed to play Division I volleyball at Houston Baptist University.
"I really liked the campus," Armer said, "and I got along with the coaches and all the girls."
Armer was key for the Hurricanes, who reached the regional playoffs for the first time in four years. She was the named the most valuable player at the county tournament for the second consecutive season -- Manatee swept Lakewood Ranch, a Class 6A state semifinalist, in the championship match -- and had 45 kills in the Class 7A-District 11 match against Venice.
Manatee fell in five games to the Indians, who won their third state championship on Wednesday.
Armer was also named the MVP of the Charlotte's Gene Gorman tournament.
She did more than just set, however. The 6-foot Armer often tipped in kills from the front row, including the 23 she had during the county tournament.
Consequently, coach Rachel Batey referred to Armer as a weapon throughout the season, which ended with Manatee going 24-4.
Armer heads to play for a Huskies team that clinched a share of the Great West Conference title Saturday and took the No. 1 seed into next week's conference tournament.
It's a sizable achievement for a school that became a full-fledged NCAA Division I member for the 2011-12 school year.
Now Armer gets a chance to be a part of it.
"I wanted to get out of Florida," she said, "and now I can do that."
IMG ACADEMY -- Ten IMG Academy students, including former Lakewood Ranch baseball standout Brett Hanewich, signed national letters of intent Wednesday.
Hanewich, a third baseman and right-handed pitcher, signed with Stanford University. His sister, Cory, is a junior on the Cardinal softball team.
Also in baseball, Kevin Connor signed with Boston College, Jason Patnick is headed the Manhattan University, and Mark Strempke is bound for the University of Chicago.
Tennis player Grayson Goldin, considered a five-star recruit by TennisRecruiting.net, signed with Florida State.
In golf, James Leadbetter, the son of swing instructor David Leadbetter, signed with the University of Arkansas. Rigel Fernandes is headed to the University of South Florida, Juan Veloza is going to Towson, Ayaka Suzki signed with the University of San Francisco, and Vivian Chen is headed to UNLV.