Nearing a milestone: JC’s Zent is 11 kills away from 1,000 in her college careerKatie Zent is a busy young woman with a big life ahead. The Jamestown College fifth-year senior is a standout on both the volleyball court and in the classroom, is preparing to go through officer’s training for the North Dakota National Guard and will begin her interviews for veterinarian school next spring.
By: Dustin Monke, Forum Communications, The Jamestown Sun
DICKINSON — Katie Zent is a busy young woman with a big life ahead.
The Jamestown College fifth-year senior is a standout on both the volleyball court and in the classroom, is preparing to go through officer’s training for the North Dakota National Guard and will begin her interviews for veterinarian school next spring.
“Katie Zent is obviously a very talented young woman,” Jimmies head volleyball coach Jon Hegerle said. “She just has so much energy and is so gifted in so many ways. It’s always a pleasure to be around her.”
The Richardton-Taylor High School graduate is also very close to a career milestone.
Zent is 11 kills away from 1,000 for her career, a feat she could accomplish when the Jimmies visit Dickinson State at 7 p.m. today for a nonconference match at Scott Gymnasium.
The 5-foot-9 middle hitter could have been done with school after her fourth year at Jamestown. Hegerle said it took Zent about a month to decide whether or not to come back.
“It was kind of a big deal when I decided that I was going to stay for another year,” Zent said. “But you don’t get the opportunity to play with a team, with a crowd, and have that team feeling any other time in my life. It was almost a no-brainer for me to come back and play this season.”
Her decision has paid off nicely for the unranked Jimmies, 17-4 overall, and Zent, who is wrapping up a stellar career while trying to help her team return to the NAIA national tournament, which they reached during Zent’s sophomore year.
A three-time all-Dakota Athletic Conference selection, Zent was the final recipient of the DAC Most Valuable Player award after the 2011 season.
This season, Hegerle said Zent has been a six-rotation player. She has 188 kills, 65 total blocks and 126 digs.
“From the volleyball perspective, she’s just a fierce competitor,” Hegerle said. “She’s not the most refined volleyball player there’s every been — and that’s OK. Because she fights, competes and she scraps and she tries to win as hard as she can, every time she plays. Every team needs a player like that. She certainly has brought that fierceness and competitive scrap to our team, certainly, for the last four years. The last two years more importantly because she’s been in a leadership role.”
Zent’s world doesn’t exactly revolve around the round ball, though it seemed to for several years.
At Richardton-Taylor, Zent was the 2007 Class B senior athlete of the year in volleyball. Now, she’s beginning to prepare for life after sports and school.
Zent joined the National Guard two years ago and said it hasn’t interfered with obligations to her team. She plans to attend officer’s training school in the spring, after which she’ll begin interviews for veterinary schools.
“The Guard is cool because you get to be there for your state. Who doesn’t love North Dakota?” Zent said with a laugh. “If I get the opportunity to help out the state, that’s pretty cool to me.”
Along with her National Guard obligations, Zent is enthusiastic about moving on to veterinary school.
Zent, who said with a bit of a sigh that she carries a 3.95 grade-point average, developed a love for animals and caring for them while growing up on a farm about 15 miles south of Richardton.
“I’ll definitely stay in the Midwest,” Zent said. “That’s where I like to be. You can’t beat the people. Hopefully I’ll set up a clinic of my own for larger and smaller animals. But we’ll see. That’s kind of a ways down the road.”