Six sophomores return to lead the team as first-year coach Kristin Rhodes prepares the Larks for the upcoming season. The returners include setter Jo Carlson (Hillsboro, Kan.), defensive specialist Krystal Hathaway (Goshen, Ind.), outside hitter Malerie Hertzler (Halstead, Kan.), and middle blockers Sheresse Ediger (Meade, Kan.), Danielle Minder (Whitewater, Kan.), and Abigail Paden (Newton, Kan.). Paden will also see time at opposite hitter.
Several new faces will compliment the sophomore class, including setter Hannah Hoffman (Bendena, Kan.), opposite hitter Megan McFadden (Pretty Prarie, Kan.), middle and outside hitter Chelsey Alden (Broomfield, Colo.), outside hitter Delaney Schlake (Beatrice, Neb.), Libero Janelle Jenkins (Aurora, Colo.), Defensive specialist Allison Martin (Crawfordsville, Iowa). Outside hitter RayAnnon Bluemel (Salina, Kan.) will redshirt this season as she recovers from two recent knee surgeries.
“Jo Carlson will lead our offense as the returning starting setter,” said Rhodes. “Several sophomores have stepped up and are poised to make big contributions, and once we are all healthy I expect a solid lineup from top to bottom.”
Games to highlight include the opening tournament (August 28,29) at Butler Community College (El Dorado, Kan.), in which Hesston will play Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, Independence (Kan.) Community College, and Allen Community College (Iola, Kan.). The Larks travel to Arkansas City, Kansas, on September 23 to take on regional power Cowley County Community College. In addition, the Larks will once again host “Think Pink Night” during the first night of the Hesston Invitational (Sept. 25-26 at Hesston High School gym).
“I am excited to begin my first year at Hesston,” added Rhodes. “The girls are working hard and have done a fantastic job of adjusting to new roles. Everyone is looking forward to getting started.”