KINGSBURG — Versatility is coveted by coaches – whether it’s an offensive lineman who can play every position or an infielder who can be plugged in at third base, shortstop or second.

Volleyball is no different and Miss Versatile for the Kingsburg High team is Kaitlyn Freeman, a 5-foot-9 senior. She plays opposite hitter, middle blocker or outside hitter for the Vikings.

“I like to be anywhere the coach needs me,” Freeman said. “I love it anytime I get on the court, but outside is my favorite position.”

Kingsburg coach David Light knows what he has in the adaptable 12th grader.

“We can plug her in anywhere,” Light said. “She’s a good hitter and she’s the highest jumper on the team.”

Freeman started playing soccer when she was 5 years old and played through her sophomore year of high school, but then stopped to focus on volleyball.

“I just realized my passion for volleyball and that it was the sport I want to play in college,” Freeman said. “I feel comfortable on the court – like it’s a safe place I can escape to. I might have three hours of homework to do, but during practice I can have as much fun as possible.”

Freeman has played well for the Vikings this season, averaging 2.8 kills per set. Her kill percentage (67.3) is the highest on the team.

The 17-year-old hails from a sports-minded family. Her father, Dustin, played football at Selma High until he was injured in a car accident; her mother, Angela, was a cheerleader at Selma; her older brother, Tyler, played soccer at Kingsburg; and she has two younger siblings, Trevor and Jocelyn, who are athletic as well.   

She is also a standout off the field, fashioning a 3.9 grade point average.

“Kaitlyn is hardest on herself,” mom Angela said. “I haven’t been one to push straight-A’s on her – she’s done that all on her own. Academically I think she’ll do great things and she hopes to work in the medical field and continue to play volleyball in college.”

Freeman said balancing athletics and schoolwork is difficult, but she does homework during the underclassmen volleyball games when necessary. 

You want versatility? Freeman has taught herself the signature double Dutch braids she wears every game and has crafted them for teammates and friends as well. She has also helped with hair and make-up services for Clay Elementary drama productions.

When not playing volleyball or studying, she likes spending time with family or friends and chasing around her three pure-bred pit bulls, Neopolitan, TJ and CJ and her three cats, Nina, Nova and Naula.

As one might expect, Light appreciates the chance to coach such a well-rounded girl.

“She’s one of the team captains and is a hard worker who is always at practice and spends extra time honing her skills,” Light said. “She’s a hard hitter and a good blocker who will do whatever it takes to get the team over the top.”

John Murphy can be reached at 583-2413 or jmurphy@hanfordsentinel.com.

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