Positive team player

Millard North High School senior Hailey Whitmarsh has an enthusiasm for volleyball that’s contagious. Although she tried many recreational sports growing up, volleyball was a clear favorite. “One of my favorite memories was my parents coaching my YMCA volleyball team,” she said. “We would always have super fun Saturdays. The whole team would go out to eat almost every game day.”

Whitmarsh now plays for both her club team and Millard North varsity volleyball. “Being part of an amazing high school team has been so rewarding. The team this year had so many talented athletes who also were easy to work with on and off the court. I love playing for Millard North because my head coach Rian Robinson was fun to play for and she helped me grow as a player. I also love going on trips with my club team because it makes us even more connected. We went to Florida twice with my favorite coaches.” Her focus and determination have paid off, and Whitmarsh will play volleyball in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) for Hastings College after graduation.

She gets her drive to compete both from within and from others. “I am very mentally motivated, so if I am confident and telling myself that I am capable, I typically perform better,” she said. “My drive to compete comes from wanting to win but also from encouragement from my family, friends, and coaches. It shows that when someone believes in you, you believe more in yourself.” 

Although Whitmarsh is typically a positive, mentally strong player, there was one point in her athletic career that proved challenging. “I would get very down on myself, and it was hard to regroup and forget about the last points. I continued to make mistakes but still put a smile on my face. I had to learn to shake off points quickly and stay positive. No matter what, your game won’t be perfect, so mistakes will absolutely happen.”

Whitmarsh is most proud of her ability to work hard wherever she is needed. “On all my club teams except one I was an all-around outside hitter, but when it came to school ball, I was too short. Although it was hard for me to change to a defensive specialist/libero, it was best for me, and I have enjoyed adapting.” 

She also participates in many extracurricular activities outside of volleyball. “I run hurdles and 4 x 4 on the Millard North varsity track team, dance feature in varsity show choir, and sing in choir. I’m also in National Honor Society, Mustang Mentor program (leading freshman at school), club volleyball, Senior Class Board, and Student Council.” 

Whitmarsh’s positive attitude keeps the team smiling. During her 16’s year, her team was in a challenging match during a tournament. “I said if we won, I would do a backflip. We ended up losing pretty badly, but we were all having a lot of fun, so we performed a cheerleading skit after the game for everyone and ended up [recording] my backflip on the Hudl film.”

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