Kelley: Perfectly able
BY JOSH HALEY BY JOSH HALEY World Correspondent
Saturday, December 22, 2012
12/22/12 at 6:16 AM
CLAIRE KELLEY will be the first to tell you that she is not perfect.
Considering she is a 4-time volleyball state champion, you can certainly argue that her volleyball career at Bishop Kelley has been perfect.
"I feel very fortunate to have been on some great teams with so many great players," said Kelley.
Being humble is a crucial trait of a great champion and Kelley will be remembered as a great champion.
"I hope people remember me not for sports but as a good person and a good representation of Bishop Kelley," said Kelley.
Recently named the Oklahoma volleyball Gatorade player of the year, Kelley faced a different kind of challenge in this year's state volleyball tournament.
For the first time in her tenure, Bishop Kelley was one set away from a loss in the championship match.
"We knew that we just had to give everything we had and we would be happy with the results," said Kelley. "I have learned so much from coach (Jerri) Berna and she kept us focused. Playing for her has been great."
The Comets rallied to win the final two sets and capture yet another state title.
"It's crazy to think that it's over already," said Kelley, who credits her family for everlasting support. "I'm the youngest of eight kids and my family comes to all my games. They've been so supportive of me."
While the perfect volleyball career is wrapped up, the perfect high school sports career is still up in the air. Believe it or not, Kelley has also been a member of the varsity soccer team since her freshman year, winning three state titles in those three seasons. This spring she will go for a fourth before heading to the University of Arkansas to play soccer.
"Choosing between soccer and volleyball was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make," said Kelley. "In the end I just chose soccer and Arkansas because they have a great program."
Kelley hopes future Comets follow a specific plan.
"Work hard on the court but work harder off the court," said Kelley. "That's what Bishop Kelley tradition is about."
Bishop Kelley's Claire Kelley won a total of seven championship rings from volleyball and soccer. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World