Posted at 3:45 p.m., May 1, 2016

Volleyball player hits success in classroom

'She is very intelligent, very selfless and has a level of maturity that you often don’t find in a college freshman.' -Austin Albers LCCC Volleyball Coach

Shari Johnson

Smacking good choices:

Kiley Ridegway shows skills on the court and in daily life.

Laramie County Community College volleyball player Kiley Ridgeway achieved high goals and keeps her eyes on the future.

Ridgeway, a freshman, has become a role model in the classroom and the gym that the coaches want to see from their student athletes, volleyball coach Austin Albers said.

Ridgeway said she started playing volleyball in third grade. The reason she decided to start playing was because her mother loved the sport.

Ridgeway remembers watching volleyball with her mother whether it was a nearby college game or professionally on television, she said. Ridgeway remembers her mom telling her how excited she was for her to start playing so they could practice together. She said she believes this helped her gain the basic skills she built on over time.

Entering College

However, Ridgeway had to narrow down her choice of activity when it came time for college.

“Pretty much anything you can think of, I probably have tried it throughout the years,” she said. During high school she was mainly involved in basketball and volleyball.

She was also involved in dance classes for 13 years. This academic year was her first year without dance, which was hard to get used to because it was a big part of her life, Ridgeway said.

Albers helped her decide to continue with volleyball for college by recruiting her. He said he felt she was one of most talented players in Wyoming.

Once he got to know Ridgeway more, he said he got a sense of her competitive nature, intelligence and leadership on and off the court.

“As it turned out, she encompassed much more than just volleyball talent and she was exactly the type of player that we needed to impact and shape the culture of our program,” Albers said.

Model player and student

Consistency is always important both on the court and in the classroom, and students must be able to handle the schedule and achieve goals. Albers said Ridgeway is consistent and driven to be excellent in all aspects of her life. He admires how she continues to grow and add to her game. She has made it clear to her coach and others that she will get through adversity with hard work and no excuses.

Ridgeway said she struggled at first coming to college; going from high school to college proved difficult in terms of school and volleyball. She had to learn to balance everything going on in her life and stay focused.

College volleyball operates on a much faster pace than high school sports, which alone created obstacles. Albers said one obstacle the coaches helped Ridgeway through was challenging her to win tight matches.

“Immediately, in our first tournament of the season we told our setters to make sure Kiley was taking the big swings with the match on the line. That can be a lot of pressure for a freshman,” Albers said.

LCCC lost the first tight game, but the coaches did not change the plan for Ridgeway. Albers wanted to show Ridgeway that he had confidence in her, he said.

“Eventually she became more comfortable and confident in being the player that we relied on to finish big matches for us,” he said.

Outside of the sweaty gym and the volleyball court, Ridgeway is working on an associates in natural science here at LCCC, but she is studying pre-pharmacy. After her associates, she is planning on getting a bachelors in biology in Connecticut while deciding where she would like to attend further school to become a pharmacist. She will be continuing the pre-pharmacy track throughout her associates and bachelors.

With high goals to achieve, Ridgeway has shown she is analytical and organized.

“You really cannot sneak anything by Kiley. She speaks her mind and gives her opinion without worrying about what others think,” Albers said. “She is very intelligent, very selfless and has a level of maturity that you often don’t find in a college freshman.”

The one thing that really drives Ridgeway is her work ethic. She said she always takes pride in her work ethic because, overall, it is the factor that decides success.

Albers said she always gives her full effort no matter how she feels about the challenge ahead of her. However, Ridgeway said she is incredibly blessed and thankful for everyone who has helped her along the way. It has encouraged her to keep pushing despite the circumstances.

She also said she is especially thankful for her coach Albers and assistant coach Britney Brown, because they have been there every step in recruiting Ridgeway and helping her with obstacles that have come up over the semester, whether it was on the court or off.

Ridgeway will play another season at LCCC in the middle-back position. She awaits the goals and competitions that come before her as well as working with a new team.

“I have always found passion just being active, being myself and doing what I like to do,” Ridgeway said.

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