`The Killer', teammates ready for county rivals
Kimber hits
Kimber hits!
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
DENNIS VICTORY For The Birmingham News
There was little suspense surrounding Dora senior Kimber Holt's assault on the state volleyball career kills record.
Holt needed only two kills going into last week's Parrish match to tie Pelham's Jeni Jones, who held the record with 2,282 kills from 1992 to '94. The 5-foot-10 Holt finished the night with 19 kills.
She didn't expect what came next.
"I've gotten a nickname," Holt said laughing. "I'll be walking around and somebody will call me The Killer."
Holt will lead the Class 4A Bulldogs (25-9) into a tri-match Thursday against Walker County rivals Cordova and Carbon Hill. The host Bulldogs start the day against Carbon Hill at 4 p.m.
Dora coach Brian Keeton took over the volleyball program this year, but had previously coached Holt in both basketball and softball. Holt carries a 4.0 GPA and Keeton knew the type of person who would lead this year's team.
"She's second in her class and just a good kid, period," Keeton said. "That along with the work ethic makes her special. Don't get me wrong because she's a good athlete. She probably won't be the best athlete on the floor, but she's definitely the one with the biggest heart and that means a lot."
Holt started playing all three sports as a freshman, but volleyball has always been her favorite. She played club ball for two seasons with the Winston County Sting then played last summer with Birmingham-based Alabama Pride.
She usually plays middle hitter because of her size, but Keeton thinks Holt could be a great setter in college.
Keeton took the Bulldogs to team camp at Alabama this summer where Holt displayed her skills. Marijo Nelson, who coaches an elite high school team in De Pere, Wis., helped Keeton teach the Bulldogs during the camp.
Keeton let Nelson take over the squad and the veteran coach experimented with Holt at setter. Nelson told Keeton that Holt was one of the best setters she had ever seen.
"I'd love to play setter," Holt said. "You need a lot of different skills as a setter. You're in control and running the show."
Holt wasn't aware of the state record until she passed the 2,000-kill mark earlier this season. While reporting it to a local newspaper, her father learned that Holt was close to the record.
"If anybody deserves it," Keeton said, "it's Kimber. She works so hard and is so unselfish with the other girls. After practice, if the setter is having problems, Kimber will stick around and let her set for her. If the other hitters want to stay after practice, Kimber will stay and help them."
E-mail: Killer, Page XXX -- KILLER:
Record-holder `unselfish'

© 2005 The Birmingham News
© 2005 All Rights Reserved

Scholar-Athlete of the Week: Tanner Henley of Shades Valley High School

Scholar-Athlete of the Week: Tanner Henley of Shades Valley High School
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Year: Senior; Sport: Volleyball
Academic highlights: Tanner has a 4.0 grade-point average, is ranked 15th in her class and scored a 23 on the ACT. She has been inducted into the National Honor Society and is ranked in the Top 20 at Shades Valley. She is active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and serves as a Peer Helper. She was selected to the Birmingham News Academic All-State Team last spring. She has participated in America's Walk for Diabetes for two consecutive years and has been a part of several school bake sales to raise money for the less fortunate.
Athletic highlights: Tanner has played volleyball for the Lady Mounties for five years and club volleyball for two years with the Alabama Pride Volleyball Club, where she plays middle blocker. She was voted team captain of her freshman volleyball team and currently serves as captain of the varsity team at SVHS. She also was team captain for her club team this past season. She received the Shades Valley Best Offensive Player and was named to the All-Tournament team of the Jefferson County Volleyball Tournament last fall. She has been named as Best Digger and Best Server/High Scorer for the Alabama Pride club team. She also received Honorable Mention on the Birmingham News 2004 All-Metro Team.
Where do you see your academic future? I plan to attend college and then medical school.
Where do you see your athletic future? I want to play another year of volleyball with the Alabama Pride Volleyball Club and I would like the play college volleyball.
Favorite subject: Math, because it has always been my strongest subject and I have had great teachers who made it interesting and fun for me. Who has been a major positive influence on you? Both my parents, Mark and AnnaLaura Henley, have always supported me and they have taught me to be successful in the things I choose to pursue.
If you could have dinner with anyone of your choosing, living or dead, who would it be? Lance Armstrong, because he has overcome many obstacles and has risen to the top as one of the best athletes in the world. He has inspired me to do my best. What is your favorite sports memory? Winning an Alabama Juniors Tournament during my 2005 Alabama Pride Volleyball Club season.
Study secrets: I pay attention in class, keep organized notes, review my notes regularly, and I don't wait until the last minute to study for a test.

Shining Star by Earth Wind and Fire

Birmingham News (AL)

October 16, 2002
Section: Neighborhoods
Page: 12-S
   SOLOMON CRENSHAW JR.News staff writer
St. Francis Xavier A won the Toy Bowl senior division volleyball tournament Saturday by beating St. Rose A 15-13, 15-10 in the final in the St. Aloysius School gym.
But Xavier avoided losing the tourney a match earlier when a coach reached out and touched the team from several hundred miles away.
Xavier was down to St. Rose B in its semifinal match when coach Tracey Rucks got a cell phone call from her co-coach and daughter, Angie Simon, who was in Oklahoma letting her in-laws get acquainted with their new grandchild.
"We had lost a game and were behind in the second game," Rucks recalled. "They were down and crying when she called. She said, 'Call time out now.'"
The referee, former UAB basketball standout Wanda Hightower Smith, was aghast. "You're calling a timeout to take a phone call? I can't believe this."
Rucks said she handed the phone to as many girls as she could during the timeout so Simon could give them a tip for overcoming the problems they faced. The advice proved effective as the team outlasted St. Rose B 8-15, 16-14, 15-9.
"She must have made 25 calls during the day," Rucks said of Simon, a former player at St. Francis Xavier and John Carroll Catholic High School. "We've been coaching together all season. It's just amazing what a phone call could do."
In the final, St. Rose A took a 7-2 lead in the first game on Emily Williams' kill and Maria Josof's service winner. But Xavier stormed back behind Jessie Jolley and Mandy Rucks, the daughter and sister of the co-coaches.
"They're good athletes and they've done a good job helping to carry the team," Rucks said.
The opening game was tied at 12-12 and St. Rose went up 13-12. Tricia Brice then served out the game.
Xavier led 10-5 in the second game before St. Rose stormed back to tie the game at 10. The younger Rucks served the team to the brink of a championship at 14-10 and Chelle Grundhoefer served the championship point.
Other members of the Xavier A team are Nicole Moore, Laura Atkinson, Mary Douglas Bunting, Lisa Cox and Lauren Atkinson.
Other members of St. Rose A, coached by Sandi Williams and Kerri Culotta, are Rachel Anderton, Mary Catherine Culotta, Gabriell Davis, Julia McCaw and Carlie Morton.
Complete tournament results follow:
First Round: Holy Family def. St. Aloysius G 15-9, 6-15, 15-7; Our Lady of the Valley B def. Our Lady of Sorrows B 16-14, 15-1; St. Rose B def. St. Francis Xavier B 16-14, 16-14; OLV C def. OLS A 4-15, 15-1, 15-3; St. Aloysius White def. Our Lady of Fatima 3-15, 15-2, 15-13.
Second Round: St. Francis Xavier A def. Holy Family 15-7, 12-15, 15-13; St. Rose B def. OLV B 15-0, 15-10; St. Rose A def. OLV C 15-6, 15-7; OLV A def. St. Aloysius White 15-5, 15-5.
Semifinals: St. Francis Xavier A def. St. Rose B 8-15, 16-14, 15-9; St. Rose A def. OLV A 15-13, 15-10.
Final: St. Francis Xavier A def. St. Rose A 15-13, 15-10.

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