By BRETT MARSHALL
Holcomb High School's Haley Heydman, the 2013 Telegram All-Area volleyball player of the year, has signed an NJCAA Letter of Intent to attend Colby Community College for the fall 2014 season.
Heydman, a 5-foot-9 middle hitter, helped lead the Lady Longhorns to a 59-16 record over her final two years while being chosen to Telegram's All-Area first team both seasons.
An explosive player, Heydman has a 26-inch vertical jump and was one of the strongest hitters in southwest Kansas.
She was a four-year starter for the Lady Longhorns.
"We are really excited to get a high-level player from the local area to join our Colby volleyball family," said Lady Trojans' head coach Carey Jones in a college press release. "Haley is a very talented player. Her raw athleticism and explosiveness on the court is very impressive. She exhibits leadership, charisma and energy in all that she does. We believe the sky is the limit for Haley and are looking forward to having her help us reach our goals next season."
Colby finished its 2013 season with an overall record of 26-10, 12-2 in the Jayhawk Conference, and finished runner-up to Hutchinson in the Region VI championship match, just missing a trip to the NJCAA National Tournament.
"Haley is such an explosive player. She hits the ball as hard as anyone around," said Holcomb head coach Jennifer Barrett at the end of the 2013 season. "Everyone notices her hitting when they walk in the gym."
In her final two seasons, Heydman recorded 693 kills (1,056 for her career), she had 59 aces in her final year (90 for her career) and had 131 blocks her final campaign, and 215 for her four years.
"It was my goal (since ninth grade) to play college volleyball, and I knew I couldn't play just being a good hitter," she said. "I wanted to be able to play all the way around. I wanted to show the coaches my fundamentals, that I don't just go out there and hit the ball."
Barrett said Heydman worked to make herself a more complete player.
"I'm really proud of Haley for the effort and hard work she has put into the other aspects of her game," she said. "She has pushed herself the past two years to become the well-rounded player she is today."
But Heydman said she has worked on developing an all-around game. As a freshman, she felt she didn't pass well, so she worked that summer to get better at that.
Her serving rose to 85 percent, a mark above what coach Barrett sets to play on varsity.
Heydman also is a member of the Holcomb girls basketball team, which is among the top 10-ranked teams in Class 3A. She is averaging more than 17 points per game for the 11-2 Lady Longhorns.
She plans to pursue a degree in dental hygiene.