Kaysie Brittenham stands out among a talented junior class at Lake H.S.
“She is the most modest and humble student-athlete that I have ever come across,” said Melissa Conley, Lake’s head volleyball coach.
Conley said that it is Brittenham’s drive and enthusiasm for both athletics and academics that separates her from the average student-athlete.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kid as driven as Kaysie,” she said.
The three-sport athlete is currently leading the Lady Flyer volleyball team into sectional play while also preparing her favorite sport – basketball.
Conley understands where Kaysie’s heart lies. That doesn’t stop her appreciation of the junior outside hitter.
“I know that this isn’t her sport of choice,” Conley said. “However, if she can do this in volleyball, I want to see what she can do in basketball.”
So far this season, Brittenham has 290 kills, 251 digs, 16 aces, and five blocks. She recently led the team to a five game defeat of rival Genoa on the road with 13 kills, 15 digs, and three aces.
Last volleyball season, Brittenham played middle blocker, but made the transition to outside hitter after the graduation of Lauren Lind. She has mixed feelings about the change.
“I miss blocking as much, but I like to hit more and it’s easier to hit on the outside,” she said.
Similar to her seamless transition to outside hitter, Conley raves over Brittenham’s ability to take on challenges and adapt. Brittenham said she is “more consistent, stronger and confident” than last season.
“You tell her to expect to come up against a triple block, and she says, ‘bring it,’” Conley said. “She’s the most logical and methodical player that I’ve seen at this age.”
In addition to her success in volleyball, Brittenham finds ways to play basketball. On volleyball game days, she’ll shoot around before the bus leaves. She also plays in a Steve Mix Blue Star league on Sundays.
During the summer, Brittenham said she participates in “a lot of shootouts and open gyms.” This past summer, she went to Arizona with the Lake girls basketball team. Next summer, it’s San Diego.
Aside from those things, Brittenham’s family participates in a bike ride to Mackinaw, where they bike 400 miles in four days.
“It’s a tradition we’ve kept going,” she said.
Also in the summer, Brittenham plays in a softball league, her spring sport of choice. Last season, Brittenham was named the most improved player in softball and volleyball.
She has played sports since she was in kindergarten, when she started soccer. In 2nd grade, it was basketball, and softball came in 3rd grade. She ran cross country in 7th and started playing volleyball in 8th. She participated in track her freshmen year before switching to softball.
Brittenham has been a big part of the revival of girls basketball at Lake, where the school has seen their win total improve from 14 her freshmen year to 22 last year. They also went 20-0 in the regular season last year and won the SLL title.
“It’s really neat just to see how many more fans we’ve gotten,” she said. “I remember going to games and there were not a lot of people. The support has grown a lot and it’s cool to see.”
Brittenham’s enthusiasm for the upcoming basketball season isn’t hidden very well.
“I’m looking forward to basketball,” she said. “It’s going to be different without Lauren Lind, Rebekah Will, and Heather Cox, but we have a lot of talent and should do well.”
Brittenham, along with her basketball teammates, is already guaranteed a spot in Lake’s Athletic Hall of Fame due to her part in the aformentioned 20-0 regular season, according to Dave Shaffer, Lake’s director of athletics.
“It’s really cool,” Brittenham said of the honor. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about, being on the wall, where people look and see your picture and say, ‘wow, I wish I could be like that.’”
In regards of this volleyball season, though, Brittenham is focused on sectional play, which begins Oct. 20 vs Ottawa Hills at Genoa H.S. starting at 7:30 p.m.
“(The season) has gone well,” she said. “The team gets along, we’re having fun, and improving everyday.”