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Blackhawk senior Kynley Burton excels at high jump and at volleyball. The Lady Blackhawk volleyball team captain has already signed a letter of intent to play volleyball for Oklahoma Christian.

"I fell in love with the game of volleyball itself and the team work that's involved," she said. "I just the sport!

"I love that I get to work with such amazing girls; we compete at a high intensity," she said, adding "We have made it to state the past two years. I love coach (Jessica) Woods, she's one of the most understanding and motivational coaches I've had. She does her best to make sure everyone buys into the team."

Burton has been injured past two years -- last year she was injured playing powder puff football and hurt her finger and in a cast and the year before that she had an ankle sprain.

Burton, 17, daughter of Michael and Tina Burton, is the granddaughter of Jerry Burton and the late May Burton, and James and Kathy Huber.

"They're so excited," she said of her family. "Pap (her paternal grandfather) will tell anyone who listens!"

She is a life-long resident of Pea Ridge. She runs track and played basketball from seventh to 11th grades.

"All my friends decided to play volleyball, so I decided I might give it a shot," she said. "Once I got my scholarship offer from Oklahoma Christian, I realized I needed to be the best athlete I can possibly be for my team and for me so decided to focus on volleyball and track."

Burton said training for and competing in high jump for track helps with her flexibility for volleyball.

On the volleyball team, she's an outside hitter but says she has "played everywhere in the front row."

There are so many girls on the team, she said, that she gets to know everyone on a deeper level when they spend long days at tournaments and in hard practices. She said her injuries that prevented her from competing in the state tournament were a great disappointment to her.

"We were fighting so hard to get there and have a good seed," she recalled, but "getting hurt at district tournament, not being able to help my team" was definitely a difficult time for her.

"I don't have to be the best volleyball player in the gym, but I need to have the most hustle and the most want to out of anyone there and that will get me through a lot. If I just want the ball and I just want to help, that's what matters," Burton said.

"I'm very much a team-oriented person, I really don't care about my own stats as much as I care about outcome for team," she said. "If I can help the girls on the court give it their all, then there's no way loss will sting as bad."

As team captain, she said it's her job to help encourage others.

"Being in this position and having this responsibility, I really have to pay attention to my team mates," she said. "It's not just what I have to do to get through the set."

Being a student athlete means that even if you've had a terrible day in the classroom, "you put on that brave face and push through," she said. "You have to be dedicated to your sport."

Burton plans to major in either sports management or business administration and said, "ultimately I want to work in an office, some part of my job have a business aspect to it."

Sports on 10/09/2019

Print Headline: Burton excels at her sport

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