Los Angeles Times

Humphreys a leader for CdM

She is enjoying her final year as a Corona del Mar High girls' volleyball player, but you can tell Kelsey Humphreys can't wait to begin her college experience at Stanford.

Humphreys has no problem letting that be known among her friends — or shouting it out in a random crowded restaurant in Las Vegas.

That's where Humphreys was last weekend, after the setter helped lead the Sea Kings to an impressive fourth-place finish at the prestigious Durango Fall Classic. Even after the action on the volleyball court, the all-tournament team selection was interested in another game that night. Stanford was playing then-No. 2-ranked USC in football.

"The tournament was over, and we've got 18 girls at this big, long table at this nice restaurant," Humphreys said. "On my phone, I have ESPN score reports, so I'm getting little updates on everything that's happening. I had to put it away for dinner, but I'm sitting at the table and it buzzes. I'm trying to be really discreet about it and I look down and it's like 21-14 [Stanford]."

Humphreys couldn't contain her excitement, yelling across the table to her CdM teammate and fellow Stanford commit, outside hitter Grace Kennedy.

"We both got so excited," Humphreys said. "Everyone at our table was like, 'Come on. Really?' The restaurant kind of looked at us, but it was so exciting ... Especially once I got in, [Stanford] is my team."

Kelsey Humphreys, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week, has reason to be excited about many things in her life. She is one of the top high school setters in the country, coming off a summer when she not only made the 12-member U.S. women's junior national team but was named a team captain. In August, she helped Team USA earn a bronze medal at the NORCECA Women's Junior Continental Championship in Nicaragua.

Humphreys also is a captain for CdM volleyball, one of four along with Kennedy, senior opposite Shannon Griffin and sophomore outside Hayley Hodson. In her senior year, she wants to accomplish big things for Coach Marissa Booker's club, which is now up in CIF Southern Section Division 1-AA.

CdM (6-4) is ranked No. 3 in the division. After losing in the semifinals or title match the three previous years, Humphreys would love to help lead the Sea Kings to their first CIF title since 2004.

"We didn't have that many seniors last year, and we have 14 this year," Humphreys said. "It's really fun to play with all these girls that I've been with for so long, that I've been friends with for all of high school … [Winning CIF] is our goal, but one step at a time, one game at a time."

Playing in the moment is a big thing that Booker stressed to her team in Las Vegas, after CdM was swept in its first two nonleague matches of the year. As a setter, the team can look to Humphreys to provide stability.

That stability also is there in Humphreys' own training regimen.

"One thing that I think Kelsey's always had, and has been consistent with, is her work ethic," Booker said. "On Saturdays, she's running. On Sundays, she's playing volleyball. Two to three times a week, she's lifting outside of here. That's definitely something that she brings to the table that has helped her get to the point that she's at, as a player."

Once she gets to Stanford there will be built-in expectations for Kelsey Humphreys. Her mother Wendy (formerly Wendy Rush), who went to Newport Harbor before transferring to Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World, was a four-time All-American setter at Stanford. Wendy, who is second on the Cardinal all-time assists list with 5,003, was the 1987-88 Pac 10 Female Athlete of the Year.

Kelsey's father, Brad, was an All-Pac 10 safety for the Cardinal football team. Kelsey's aunt Kari Rush, who played at Newport Harbor, was also an All-American setter for the Cardinal.

"Obviously, growing up in this community, you've heard about the Rush sisters," said Booker, who also played at Newport Harbor. "I think Kelsey kind of has the trifecta going on. She has very athletic parents, she works hard and she's competitive."

And guess what? Kelsey wears No. 8 on the court, just like her mother.

It's a fine line for Kelsey, who had a 4.6 grade-point average last year at CdM and has taken six Advanced Placement classes. It is easy for people to compare her to her mother, and Kelsey said she doesn't mind. She takes it as a compliment, but she got into Stanford because of her own accomplishments.

"I'm up there for myself," Kelsey Humphreys said. "I didn't get in because of my mom, I got in because of what I did. So, while I'm there, I want to make my own impact. They recruited me of the player I am, not because of the player my mom was."

Still, there is a good amount of ribbing that goes on. And much of the time, Kelsey is the one giving it.

"At Stanford in the locker room, it's kind of like a timeline on the walls," she said. "There's pictures of the team every year, and the years they won or got silver or bronze, there's a picture of the trophy over it. And there's the pictures of the All-Americans all around [the room].

"My mom and my aunt are both on the wall. I'm always like, 'I'm going to get a bigger picture than you on the wall.' I don't want people to say when I'm finished there, 'She didn't live up to her [mom].' That's not my goal. My goal is not to live up to my mom. I want to make an impact in the program, my own impact."

Sure, Kelsey Humphreys can't wait for Stanford, but there is a bit of unfinished business at CdM.

She is not done making her impact for the Sea Kings.

"Now we're in [Division] 1-AA, so we're with Los Al, Newport Harbor, kind of the harder teams that we would have met in State last year," Kelsey Humphreys said. "We're definitely pushing for that title."


Twitter: @mjszabo


Kelsey Humphreys

Born: Jan. 17, 1995

Hometown: Newport Beach

Height: 6 feet

Sport: Volleyball

Year: Senior

Coach: Marissa Booker

Favorite food: Frozen yogurt

Favorite movie: "Despicable Me"

Favorite athletic moment: Playing with the U.S. women's junior national team this year.

Week in review: Humphreys was an all-tournament team selection at the prestigious Durango Fall Classic tournament in Las Vegas, helping CdM take fourth place.

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