Multi-sport athlete Avery Kalsu hopes to see things through gold-colored glasses when she crosses the stage as a Dripping Springs High graduate next summer.
Those dreams are all based on how Kalsu envisions finishing her high school athletics career in 2019-20 – by winning state titles in volleyball and in track and field.
Kalsu nearly achieved the feat during her junior campaign by finishing 4th in the 400-yard dash at the UIL Track & Field State Championships in Austin in May. Several months earlier, Kalsu played a pivotal role in leading Dripping Springs’ volleyball team back to the UIL state tournament in Garland.
“Now that I’ve been there and had the experience I’m not content with just getting there,” Kalsu said. “I want to get there and I want to compete. I want to hopefully win state in volleyball, and win state in track. That’s what the goal is.”
Her fourth place finish (56.46 seconds) at state broke a Dripping Springs school record in the women’s 400-yard dash, which she had previously set.
Even though she didn’t start track until her seventh grade year, running has always been in Kalsu’s DNA; she hit the soccer pitch regularly during her childhood. She credits playing soccer for her easy transition into other sports.
“I was a soccer player, so I always knew that I wanted to run.” said Kalsu.
In elementary school, Kalsu and her family moved to Dripping Springs from Tulsa, Oklahoma. At nine-years-old, she tried out for volleyball and instantly fell in love with the sport.
“I love competing with a team, and being able to share the success,” Kalsu said. “Being with them and succeeding with them.”
Growing up in Dripping Springs, Kalsu constantly heard about the successful Tiger volleyball program. During her eighth grade year, she witnessed the 2015 Tigers squad winthe 5A state title. Since that moment, Kalsu has made it her mission to win a state title, too.
“Playing in Garland has been a dream of mine ever since I saw that team,” she said. “It has always been my team’s dream. No one on that team had been to Garland to play, and so everyone throughout the whole year was hungry to get back there.”
Kalsu was a force to be reckoned with on the court this past season as she finished second on the team in kills (260), aces (56) and digs (480), while also leading the team with 859 assists.
Her play on the court garnered recognition from multiple Universities from around the nation. In August 2017, just before her sophomore year began, she committed to play volleyball at The University of Tulsa. Returning home to play in Tulsa is a dream come true for Kalsu.
“As soon as I got the offer from Tulsa, I was pretty sure I was going to take it,” she said. “I’m from Tulsa, so it’s kinda like going back home, and that’s really what I wanted. I’m such a home body, and I needed a place like that. Tulsa literally checked off every single one of my boxes.”
Although she fell just short of her goals this past season, Kalsu has been recognized as one of the top athletes in Texas for her outstanding junior year. In addition to winning the Co-MVP award on the All Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch team for volleyball, she also won the Female Athlete of the Year award at the Austin American-Statesman’s 2019 All Star Preps All-CenTex award ceremony held last week.
“I was not expecting to get it at all,” Kalsu said. “So whenever I heard my name I was in like complete shock.”
Kalsu is now focusing on improving her game this summer in order to achieve her goals. She is working hard on becoming more technically sound and dynamic with setting, in addition to improving her vertical jump.
Coming up short has fueled her will to win throughout the years and Kalsu plans on using it again to motivate herself to take it to the next level, becoming a state champion.