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Dunaway makes it official, becomes a Dawg
Volleyball star signs letter of intent with UW on Wednesday.
Kelcey Dunaway said she was a little worried that the last minute invitations she sent out meant she wouldnt get enough people to come to her party.
But she knows now not to underestimate the support of the community.
With her volleyball teammates and coaches, her Girl Scout troop, BHS staff members and her family and friends in attendance in C-team coach Dave Laytons room, Dunaway signed her national letter of intent to play volleyball for the University of Washington Wednesday.
Its the first day many high school athletes can sign to declare their intent to play for the college they want to in exchange for a scholarship to that school.
Dunaway said she received plenty of interest from several schools and even got offers from two, but went with Washington because it was the best fit.
It was the most comfortable, she said. Its the best coaching staff, I think, and the nicest team.
I love UW as a school and (Husky head coach) Jims (McLaughlin) coaching is amazing.
But Dunaway didnt get on their radar until two years ago, when she met McLaughlin at a summer camp.
Jim started talking to me and it just went from there, she said.
She also got some insight into the UW volleyball program when Husky assistant volleyball coach Leslie Tuiasasopo coached her club volleyball team.
I got to know her and the team better, she said.
It all added up to her receiving a scholarship offer from McLaughlin in February.
While staying close to home wasnt much of a factor (Im pretty independent, Dunaway said) she also likes the city of Seattle itself.
I just think its a really cool city and its fun, she said. I like being near the water and mountains.
Her dad, Roger, said its nice to have her close, but they werent making it a major factor.
I would have been happy no matter where she went as long as she liked the school as far as the academics (go), he said. But shes going to one of the better programs in the nation so Im real happy about that.
The Huskies, under McLaughlin, have turned around their program from doormat to dominant, winning two Pac-10 titles and making it to the NCAA tournament for the past seven seasons, collecting three Final Four appearances and one national title in 2005.
Dunaway said the prestige of the program was a nice bonus as well.
It definitely helps that theyve been consistently in the Final Four, she said. I knew I wanted to play on a competitive team where I would be challenged... itll be fun to be in the Pac-10 and playing at such a competitive school.
But playing D-I volleyball was never a dream when Dunaway started out.
She first got involved with volleyball in seventh grade when she played for the team at Commodore Middle School.
I was tall so it worked out, she said. I wasnt that athletic as a kid I wasnt even very good at volleyball when I first started.
Dunaway had tried several other sports but couldnt find one that she was good at.
But when volleyball clicked with her, she kept with it through club volleyball in the offseason with Washington Academy and Kent Juniors.
Roger also said that spending time with BodyLink in Poulsbo helped improve her vertical as well.
The work paid off as she played for the JV team her freshman year, then moved into the starting rotation as a sophomore.
Now, shell move on to the big stage next season, becoming the third player in four years to sign with a Division I school along with teammate Hannah Stuart (now at George Washington University) and head coach Julie Millers daughter Michelle (now at the University of New Mexico).
Its very exciting, Miller she said. Shes really grown as a person and as a player and become her own person.
Itll be really fun to go watch Kelcey play.
Dunaway feels shes got a long way to go to get ready for next season, but shes excited about the next chapter of her life.
Itll be a blast, she said. Ive talked to a lot of the girls and theyve said it was the best time of their lives.