Newsome earns spot on CNU volleyball team

Published 4:34 pm Thursday, April 24, 2014

Southampton Academy’s Katelyn Newsome. -- CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

Southampton Academy’s Katelyn Newsome. — CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

COURTLAND—After Katelyn Newsome got a taste for volleyball, she knew it was the sport for her.

It all started freshman year with a volleyball league camp in Virginia Beach. After that, she joined the volleyball team at Southampton Academy her sophomore year, and juggled softball and volleyball until her senior year, when she dropped softball to focus on one sport.

“In the beginning, I wanted to go to college for softball,” Newsome, 18, said. “I just got better and better every year at volleyball, and I decided to focus on it.

“It’s just a true team sport. Everyone on the floor has a purpose, and they have to work together for it to work.”

After her best year on the court, she was offered a spot to play volleyball at Christopher Newport University.

“It is exciting,” she said. “I was deciding between Roanoke and CNU, because at first I didn’t think CNU had the classes I needed for my major, veterinary medicine, but I found out they did and that’s how I made my final decision.”

Part of the reason is she gets to be closer to home, since CNU is only an hour and half away in Newport News.

“It’ll be nice to be able to see them more often,” she said. “It’s a lot closer to home.”

Another part of the puzzle in her decision was the atmosphere around the school and volleyball program.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “The whole team is like a family. The coach is super nice and she knows about the game.”

The 5’10” athlete played a little bit of every position in high school.

“It’s fun to be able to play all the way around,” she said. “I mean, you feel like you are good enough to play at every position. But, it’s a good feeling when the coach trusts you enough to play every position.”

In college, she’s likely to play either outside hitter or one of the middle positions.

“I don’t think it really matters,” she said. “There is something special about outside and there is something special about the middle.

“On the outside, you get to play on the back row. You get to pass. But the middle is fun, you are constantly moving, blocking on your left or blocking on your right. You have to be quick to get to plays.”

The last piece she mentioned was that she could major in veterinary science.

“I’ve always had a love for animals,” Newsome said. “Ever since I was little, I wanted to become a vet. I worked over the summer with an equine clinic, and I thought that maybe it might change my mind. But it didn’t. It made me want to become a vet even more.”

SA Coach Frank Seal had nothing but good things to say about the two-time all-state member and 2013-14 conference MVP.

“She was actually our key player, our MVP this year,” he said. “She was our leader in every practice and in the games.”

“She is a great all-around player, and she worked really hard to get that way.”

Volleyball is one thing, but Seal also said she is a great student.

“It is hard to do everything that she has done over the last four years in high school, being that good on the volleyball court, and to also be that good in the classroom.

“She will fit in well in a college system because of her hard work in practice and her willingness to learn different things,” he said.

Seal said he was looking forward to seeing her play in college.

“I will be at the home games when I can,” he said. “I look forward to seeing her grow.”

She also played travelball, first for the Blackwater Volleyball Association, then later the Coastal Volleyball club, and that season is still going.

“Playing for a bigger team lets her get experience in bigger national tournaments, so she can get a taste of that college level competition before going to college,” Seal said.

Seal said he knows that Newsome wants to be a veterinarian, but he also hopes she’ll consider coaching.

“I hope she enjoys it enough to get in and help the kids,” he said.

While Seal admits that Newsome is a great student and volleyball player, he said that she’s a better person.

“She’s a person that you can actually talk to and relate to,” he said. “In this day and age, students think they are more than they are. She thought she was less. And that’s what drove her to be as good as she is. I’m proud to say that I played a little part in her success.”

Newsome said she was going to miss everything about Southampton Academy.

“It is like my second family here,” she said. “At CNU it will be a family too, but I have been here since I was 3 or 4. It’s been really nice.

“But, I’m looking forward to playing volleyball. And also taking classes toward my profession. It’s going to be fun.”