UNION CITY – After playing together for years at Mississinawa Valley, Kelsie Hunt and Mikayla Stump will continue their volleyball careers together at the Wright State University Lake Campus in Celina.
Hunt, the daughter of Wade and Billie Hunt, and Stump, the daughter of Mike and Melanie Stump, committed to the Wright State Lake Campus volleyball team alongside each other on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s very exciting,” said Billie Hunt, who along with being Kelsie’s mother also is Mississinawa Valley’s varsity volleyball coach. “I loved coaching Mikayla and Kelsie, of course, and coached them in junior high and high school so I’ve had them for six years, and they were always hard workers, they always put in extra time, and I’m super excited to get to go and watch them continue to play volleyball.”
At the Wright State Lake Campus Hunt plans to study middle childhood education.
“I wanted a small college close to home, and when I went there it just felt right,” she said. “I just really liked it. It kind of felt homey.”
Stump plans to study nursing.
“I didn’t want to go very far,” she said. “I know I wanted to commute, and when I went on my college visit I liked how small it was, and it was really pretty there, and they had the program I wanted, and it’s fairly new, and it’s really small, and that’s what I like.”
Neither girl was certain about playing college volleyball initially, but Hunt grew excited about the possibility after attending some of the Lakers’ open gyms.
“I’m really excited about it,” she said. “It took me awhile to decide if I wanted to do it or not, but after going to the open gyms it kind of sealed the deal. I like the team so far already, and I’m really excited about it.”
When her friend decided to play college ball, Stump decided she would, too.
“I probably wouldn’t have done it if she wouldn’t have because we’ve always played together, ever since junior high,” Stump said. “We’ve been friends ever since I came to this school.”
Having a familiar face alongside her will help make the transition to college easier, Hunt said.
“I’m glad that she came with me,” Kelsie Hunt said. “I was really nervous about going it alone. Having Mikayla gives me a sense of familiarity. I’m just excited. We’ve always played well together, and I’m excited to see what we’ll do in college together.”
Wright State Lake Campus volleyball coach Shelli Hardesty is excited about adding the two Blackhawks and thinks they’ll be able to earn playing time this upcoming fall.
Stump will be a defensive specialist and contend for the libero position.
“She moves really well on the court,” Hardesty said. “She reads the hitters very well. We’re excited to have that passing ability brought to the Lakers.”
Hunt will be an outside hitter for the Lakers.
“She’s got a great swing and good hops so we’re excited,” Hardesty said. “We’ve seen her in action. Very excited. She’s got a great swing, and she plays very smart ball.”
Hardesty and her husband, assistant coach Jim Hardesty, are in their third year leading the Wright State Lake Campus volleyball program, which competes in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.
“We’re growing the program,” Hardesty said. “We consider this year one of those that we’re rounding third and heading for home with talent.”
Coach Hunt said both Hunt and Stump are smart girls and hard workers.
“(Mikayla is) a strong passer, strong back row player,” Coach Hunt said. “She’s very committed to the game. She wants to win. She’s that player that goes out there and she’s taking it serious until the end because she wants to win. She’s going to give you her all to do what it takes to get the win.
“Kelsie’s always had a positive attitude, and she’s working really hard as a hitter right now. She feels like she’s a little short going in for a college team, but the thing about her she’s putting in three, four nights in the gym here. She’ll come in here and work on hitting non-stop because if she goes she wants to be good at it.”
After watching them play together for the past six years, Coach Hunt is excited to see the two Mississinawa Valley seniors play together again at the Wright State Lake Campus.
“I wasn’t ready for it to end so I’m excited that we get to keep going,” Coach Hunt said.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.