COLUMBIA – Volleyball tests an athlete's ability to formulate strategies, to quickly judge the distance of the court, to strategically place the ball and to position the body exactly where it needs to be to get the block.
"You have to be smart to play volleyball," Hickman coach Greg Gunn said after his team fell to visiting Francis Howell Central 25-17, 14-25, 25-15 on Tuesday night.
He made it clear, that despite the frustrating outcome, he is proud of his team's academic achievements. This season's Kewpies have set the highest team grade point average for the program, and their 3.6 GPA could become the highest of all Hickman sports teams.
Trying to balance the demanding varsity volleyball schedule with a full school schedule, while still being a teenager and having fun, can be a challenge. But the Kewpies have succeeded. Senior Katelyn Foley currently holds the highest GPA on her team with a 3.95.
"Luckily I do not have a seventh hour," Foley said. "So I have been able to take advantage of that time and get any help that I need."
Gunn said he has been nothing but impressed.
"These girls are great," he said. "These girls are working really hard here. A majority of them are taking AP level classes, and none of them have a grade lower than a B."
The drive to do well in school not only comes from self-motivation and parents, but from Gunn as well.
"They know that I check their grades every six weeks," Gunn said. "I've made it clear that if they are not passing a class, they will continue to practice, but they will not play.
"We have been fortunate enough that this has become a sort of tradition for Hickman volleyball. For years now, volleyball has had one of the highest, if not the top GPA on campus. I don't know what it is about volleyball, but these girls are consistently excellent students."