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Meet your Oles! Community and commitment: Kathryn Deist


For most of us, a busy weekend might mean time at the gym, a few friend get-togethers, an essay to write, and a meeting for a group project. For Kathryn Deist ’25, one of three captains of the varsity volleyball team, that’s a mere fantasy.


With 19 members currently playing, Deist’s team has even more games than it has people. During the fall, conference games take place on Wednesdays or Fridays, and weekends are filled by tournaments. Practices are two hours a day, Monday through Friday. Come spring, the off-season, practice decreases to three days a week. However, this amount is a minimum rather than a maximum.


The volleyball team spends a lot of time together, with a daily routine that starts in the training room, where team members warm up and stretch or turn to reliable athletic trainer Erin Gary. As the team decompresses and catches up, they connect on a level beyond the volley-ball grind. That connection then opens the door for a communal tenacity; practice usually goes over the two-hour mark.


Considering how much time they spend together, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the community building is Deist’s favorite part of being on the volleyball team. “I do everything with them,” she said. “Meals, studying, keeping each other accountable…I’m very happy to have them.”


Community isn’t limited to their peers on the court; the team has begun engaging with volunteering and local events. Recently, the team helped host a women-in-sports event, where they taught young girls from Northfield soccer, volleyball, and a number of other sports. These events, along with alumni games, keep spirits high during the off-season.


Of course, a healthy competitiveness equally keeps team members engaged and enthusiastic. Right now, practices stay lively through “the Cauldron”: each individual earns a point every time they’re on the side of the net that wins that simulated game. “It gets super competitive,” Deist said. She smiled, then continued. “Right now I’m in third place.”


Being an Ole athlete is quite a commitment in many ways, it requires time, focus, physical exertion, social energy. At the time when it’s essential that all of these capacities be at their zenith — competition season — the intensity yields the greatest rewards and, despite the sacrifices, leaves the warmest memories. When asked what she was looking forward to, Deist said without hesitation: “Competitions, especially home games. There’s an energy with the crowd. We get a lot of other athletes supporting us.” The team holds a total season record of 21 wins and 10 losses and a MIAC conference record of 7-4.