Kelsey Thompson is the epitome of her position in women’s volleyball – power.
Standing just 5-foot-7, the Fulton Maroon grad appears more cut out to be a point guard in basketball (which she is), but it is on the volleyball court where she truly soars.
It’s not so much how high she stands, but rather how high she can leap, and what she can do while she’s up there, that puts Thompson a head above the competition. With the vertical spring of a gazelle and the hitting power of a gold gloves boxer, Thompson is a handful for opposing blockers.
Thompson, who turns 18 in September, has been named an all-star at every tournament she has attended with the Maroons, capped by a Tournament MVP nod when Fulton claimed gold at the B.C. Senior AAA Girls Championships in Prince George last December.
“It was definitely an all-around team effort to win provincials, but comments from opposing coaches, during and after the provincial championships, were that they had no answer for her attack. Kelsey was unstoppable as a power hitter,” said Fulton coach Sharon Shaigec.
“Kelsey not only hits the ball hard, but she also has a wide variety of shots which I give credit to her playing/training for beach volleyball last summer in Penticton with coach Paul Mend where she and her partner (Keirsten Mend) won a bronze medal at the Summer Games.”
Add in a strong passing game, sound defensive play and relentless desire to win, and Thompson is the complete package.
“I can honestly say that Kelsey can’t stand to lose. She is a clutch player that I could always count on her as a coach to get a side-out or a point,” added Shaigec.
Thompson will take her dynamic game to the college level when she joins the Grant McEwan Griffins of Edmonton for the coming season. After considering offers from the UBC Okanagan Heat, NAIT Ooks (Edmonton) and Thompson Rivers University WolfPack, she said the Griffins were the best fit for her.
They also wear the same maroon school colours as Fulton, which never hurts, joked Thompson.
“I just had a good feel for Grant McEwan. All the girls were nice and welcoming and I liked the coach (Ken Briggs),” said Thompson, who didn’t seem overly concerned about adjusting to cold Alberta winters.
“I’ll be inside the whole time, so it won’t be a big deal. The whole campus is connected.”
Shaigec believes Thompson’s poise will allow her to make a seamless transition to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC), where the Griffins finished tied for sixth at 11-9 last season.
“Kelsey is a smart player; she knows when to crank it and she knows when to throw in an off-speed spike. As far as hitting goes, I taught her, and stressed to her, how important a wipe-off hit is and that it should be her first selection of hits if the block presents itself appropriately.
“Other than that, Kelsey, as always, just killed the ball hard. It came naturally to her.”
Thompson, who plans to study eduction with the aim of becoming a coach, plans to keep sharp this summer with another season of beach volleyball before heading to Alberta. She will be teaming up with a new partner from Kelowna.
Of all her accolades, Thompson says there is no better feeling than finishing her high school career with gold.
“It was a great experience because we were all so close and we all wanted to win so bad. And we all wanted to win for Shaigec too.”
In addition to Shaigec and Mend, Thompson credits coaches Barb Wilson and UBC Okanagan’s Steve Manuel for guiding her development. She also thanked her parents, Teresa and Jay, and sister, Jess, who “got dragged around a lot and never complained.”