VERSAILLES – The choice came down to three schools for Versailles senior Kelsey Custenborder. In the end, she chose the one where she felt most at home.
Custenborder will continue playing volleyball at Heidelberg University.
“I am super excited,” Custenborder said of her choice. “The coaching staff and the campus in general reminds me a lot of Versailles, and the coaches remind me of both volleyball and basketball just in that they preach hard work and grit and everything, so I am really excited for that.”
Heidelberg is an NCAA Division III school that competes in the Ohio Athletic Conference and is located in Tiffin, Ohio. The volleyball program has experienced recent success having winning records in each of the last four years including trips to the NCAA Division III regional tournament in both 2015 and 2016. The Student Princes also were the OAC tournament champions in 2015.
Custenborder is no stranger to success on the volleyball court, as well as on the basketball court. She helped lead the Lady Tigers to a second straight Division III state volleyball championship back in November, and was a varsity player with last year’s Division III state runner-up girls basketball team. She is currently in basketball season with the Lady Tigers where she is averaging 7.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. In her senior volleyball season, Custenborder led all of Darke County with 762 assists. She also had 158 digs, 28 kills, 27 blocks and 24 ace serves.
“Kelsey was a great leader by example this year and took on a role as a vocal leader as well,” said Kenzie Bruggeman, Versailles’ volleyball coach. “She has always had great determination and work ethic during both off season and in season. She was so fun to coach and I can’t wait for her to experience college volleyball.”
Custenborder said she believes she will be a good fit at Heidelberg.
“I am a setter and they recruited me for setting, but they have a senior setter right now,” Custenborder said. “Hopefully I will be on varsity, but maybe JV the first year. I just want to play volleyball.”
Custenborder visited both Bluffton University and Thomas More College before deciding on Heidelberg.
“I had it narrowed down to those three, but when I went on campus at Heidelberg it just felt right,” Custenborder said. “It felt like home. It was a hard choice because Thomas More is where my parents went. That is where they met, but it just felt right when I was at Heidelberg and they have a great business program and business administration is what I am studying.
“Heidelberg is not too terribly far about two hours so close for family to come watch,” she continued. “The process was really fun and getting to know all the coaches I talked to. Then I went to an overnight visit at Heidelberg to get to know the players so it has just been really fun. You just get a good feel of the campus with all the students there and you get to interact with them and get to know them which made knowing you are going to spend the next four years there really cool.”
Custenborder said she is unsure what she wants to do with the business administration degree at this point, but is leaning toward either insurance sale or marketing.
“My mom owns a promotional product business so I don’t know if I want to take that over yet or if I want to go into sales.”
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.