News that officially broke Tuesday had left the University of Jamestown women's volleyball team in stunned silence last Saturday at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
Stew McDole, a longtime member of the NAIA women's volleyball national recognition committee with more than 900 career wins as head coach at Iowa's Graceland University, huddled the Jimmies together for an important announcement.
The Jimmies' head coach Jon Hegerle had won NAIA Coach of the Year, and juniors Kalli Hegerle and Anna Holen were to become the first NAIA All-American first-team selections in UJ volleyball history.
"It was about 10 seconds of just silence because, certainly, it isn't anything that's expected," coach Hegerle said. "But it's just a really good reflection of our program and where it's going, and what those players were able to do.
"It's an honor and we're certainly grateful to be in this position."
Hegerle and the Jimmies have routinely referenced "perpetual ascension" when talking about the team's rise to national prominence over the last handful of years, which by definition would have to include the nation's best coach at some point.
Hegerle's achievement is a reflection of the tireless energy he's dedicated to both the University of Jamestown and to his athletes since taking over the program in 2009, which produced his 300th career win last Thursday at the national tournament.
The coach has guided UJ to eight NAIA national tournaments -- five consecutively including last weekend's second straight national semifinal appearance -- back-to-back Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament titles, and the program's first No. 1 ranking this spring.
Hegerle's college coaching record stands at 300-112 all-time after 12 seasons with the Jims, and even after all that winning the limelight still feels awkward.
"It's uncomfortable," Hegerle laughed. "Just because we're so into what we're doing and so into how we're doing things that it's just not something that's in my mind."
The coach was obviously more excited to talk about his niece, Kalli, and Holen, two players who owned the court during UJ's 30-2 season that saw the Jimmies at the top of five straight national polls.
Kalli, a 6-foot former setter for NCAA Division I North Dakota State, transferred to UJ last year and transformed into a right-side hitter, posting a hitting percentage of .305 with 301 kills.
Holen, a former North Dakota Miss Basketball Award winner and Class B volleyball senior athlete of the year recipient at the high school level, led the Jimmies with 322 kills and her 498 digs was second in the GPAC behind senior teammate Sydney Ellingson's 607.
"That was what I was most excited about, just seeing where those two ended up," coach Hegerle said. "That again is just a real reflection of just a whole bunch of people building this program.
"I used to always say to the teams, in the beginning, our job is just to move that ceiling a little bit more. So we've had a whole bunch of groups that have just pushed that ceiling a little bit higher and a little bit higher, and it's kinda paved the way for things like this to happen."
Hegerle and Holen combined for 122 total blocks. Both were selected as first-team GPAC all-conference members, NAIA all-tournament team members and recently earned AVCA West Central Region honors along with senior middle Corina Huff (222 kills, 111 total blocks) and junior setter Jackie Meiklejohn (738 assists, 31 aces).
"Certainly they've been gifted with some great athleticism, but in the same token they've worked extremely hard," Hegerle said. "They're both very driven in everything they do. When you look at what they do outside the court -- in the classroom and in life -- they're also very driven and they want to be the best."
Tuesday's formal announcement possibly made falling to GPAC rival Midland University last Friday a little easier to swallow. The Warriors ended the Jimmies' season 3-1 in the national semifinals, prior to falling in Saturday's championship match 3-2 to Missouri Baptist.
The Jimmies were hoping to reach, and possibly win, UJ's first appearance in a national team championship game.
"Getting some texts from former players and former coaches here, and it just makes you really appreciate the community we're in, the university we're in and the young women that have put a lot of themselves into building this program and the culture," Hegerle said. "I'm just extremely grateful that God has brought me to Jamestown and has given me the opportunity to work with just a whole bunch of tremendous people."
Hegerle said he plans to give the Jimmies a well-deserved four weeks off this month. UJ moves back in to begin fall camp three months from tomorrow (May 5).
"We have a team meeting tonight (Tuesday)," Hegerle said. "First thing on the agenda is get some rest."
2020 NAIA Women's Volleyball
Kalli Hegerle, Jamestown (N.D.), RS, Jr, West Fargo, N.D.
Anna Holen, Jamestown (N.D.), OH, Jr, LaMoure, N.D.
Olivia Galas, Bellevue (Neb.), S, JR, Bellevue, Neb.
Brenna Krommendyk, Dordt (Iowa), MB, So, Belle Plain, Minn.
Jodie Kelly, Madonna (Mich.), OH, SR, Romeo, Mich.
Skyler Van Note, Marian (Ind.), OH, Jr, Muncie, Ind.
Giovanna Tapigliani, Missouri Baptist, RS, Sr, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Lacey Reitz, Northwestern (Iowa), S, Sr, Jackson, Minn.
Anna Wedel, Northwestern (Iowa), OH, Sr, Maurice, Iowa
Sophia Salak, Oklahoma City, S, JR, McKinney, Texas
Nada Meawad, Park (Mo.), OH, Sr, Cairo,, Egypt
Bailey Foy, Texas Wesleyan, MB, SR, Paris, Texas
Katie Emmerling, The Master's (Calif.), S, SR, Clovis, Calif.
Lexi Malone, Westmont (Calif.), MB, SO, Ventura, Calif.
NAIA Player of the Year: Nada Meawad, Park (Mo.)
NAIA Setter of the Year: Olivia Galas, Bellevue (Neb.)
NAIA Defender of the Year: Brenna Krommendyk, Dordt (Iowa)
NAIA Coach of the Year: Jon Hegerle, Jamestown (N.D.)
Isabelle North, Bethel (Ind.), MB, Fr, Hoagland, Ind.
Avari Ridgway, Corban (Ore.), OH, JR, McMinnville, Ore.
Cambree Scott, Eastern Oregon, MB, JR, Bend, Oregon
Eryn Russell, Evangel (Mo.), L, Jr, Republic, Mo.
Rachel Klitzing, Indiana Wesleyan, MB, Sr, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Erinn Adam, IU Kokomo (Ind.), MB, Sr, Bloomington, Ind.
Abbie Seward, Keiser (Fla.), OH, SR, Bloomington, Ill.
Lena Pucnik, Life (Ga.), OH, SO, Celje, Slovenia
Victoria Johnson, Mayville State (N.D.), MB, JR, Roseau, Minn.
Taliyah Flores, Midland (Neb.), OH, Jr, Papillion, Neb.
Amanda Mendes, Park (Mo.), S, Sr, Sacramento, Brazil
Cydney Finberg-Roberts, Providence (Mont.), S, JR, Columbia Falls, Mont.
Maya Roberts, Viterbo (Wis.), Op, SR, Watertown, Wis.
Kellie Kozak, Wayland Baptist (Texas), MB, SR, Ituna, Saskatchewan, Canada
Payton Klein, Aquinas (Mich.), RS, SR, Bruce Township, Mich.
Eve Fountain, Bellevue (Neb.), OH, FR, Omaha, Neb.
Paola Sanabria-Sanchez, Bethany (Kan.), OH, Sr, Rincon, Puerto Rico
Maddy Payne, Bethel (Ind.), MB, Fr, Nappanee, Ind.
Grace Stumbaugh, Central Methodist (Mo.), MB, Sr, Concordia, Mo.
Luisa Ferreira, Columbia (Mo.), S, So, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Maddie Polzin, Dakota State (S.D.), OH, SR, Baltic, S.D.
Jennifer Roth, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), OH, Sr, Madras, Ore.
Raylyn Dodd, Missouri Baptist, MB, Sr, Fredericktown, Mo.
Sara Klunder, Missouri Baptist, MB, Fr, Hudson, Iowa
Isidora Stojovic, Missouri Baptist, OH, Sr, Belgrade, Serbia
Ayona Tharps, Ottawa (Kan.), RS, Sr, Collinsville, Ill.
Kate Pestova, Ottawa (Ariz.), OH, JR, Tacoma, Wash.
Courtney Pressley, Reinhardt (Ga.), OH, SO, Loganville, Ga.
Kali Crawford, Aquinas (Mich.), S, SR, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Madelyn Haut, Ave Maria (Fla.), MB, SO, Monroe, Mich.
Brianna Rivera, Benedictine Mesa (Ariz.), OH, SO, Chandler, Ariz.
Annabelle Somoza, Benedictine Mesa (Ariz.), S, SO, Patagonia, Ariz.
Makenna Northern, Bushnell (Ore.), S, JR, Browsville, Ore.
Paige Merrick, Campbellsville (Ky.), S, JR, Coxs Creek, Ky.
Taelyr Krantz, Carroll (Mont.), MB, JR, Helena, Mont
Tara Callahan, Concordia (Neb.), S, Sr, Brady, Neb.
Kayla Clark, Cornerstone (Mich.), S, SR, Jenison, Mich.
Ady Dwight, Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.), MB, Fr, Langford, S.D.
Alli Timmermans, Dordt (Iowa), Opp, Jr, Orange City, Iowa
Kiley McMurtrey, Eastern Oregon, L, SR, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Breanna Shaffer, Eastern Oregon, OH, JR, Kennewick, Wash.
Hunter Keller, Georgetown (Ky.), MB, SO, Cincinnati, Ohio
Reece Shirley, IU East (Ind.), S, Fr, Michigan City, Ind.
Jessica Swimm, IU East (Ind.), OH, Fr, Hagerstown, Ind.
Jacey Blust, Indiana Tech, L, SO, Florence, Mich.
Ana Collar, Indiana Wesleyan, RS, Jr, Cicero, Ind.
Lizzie Sokeland, IU Kokomo (Ind.), MB, Sr, Bloomington, Ind.
Hannah Marchand, IU South Bend (Ind.), MB, SR, Sturgis, Mich.
Jillian Blackman, John Brown (Ark.), L, SO, Stillwell, Kan.
Lauren Cloud, John Brown (Ark.), S, SO, Springdale, Ark.
Amber Dilsaver, Keiser (Fla.), OPP, JR, Fort Madison, Iowa
Mary Zimmerman, Life (Ga.), MB, SR, Newborn, Ga.
Hannah Caddow, Life Pacific (Calif.), OH, SO, Santa Clarita, Calif.
Sydney Culpepper, Life Pacific (Calif.), OH, SR, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Camryn Rich, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), S, SO, Louisville, Ky.
Alexis Smith, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), OH, JR, Georgetown, Ind.
Sarah Spangler, Marian (Ind.), RS, Jr, Cedar Lake, Ind.
Mason Hart, Mayville State (N.D.), L, SR, Moorhead, Minn.
Aidan Brown, McPherson (Kan.), OH, Fr, Sterling, Ill.
Hannah Foecker, Mid-America Christian (Okla.), OH, SR, Sudlohn, Germany
Maegan Plunk, Mid-America Christian (Okla.), L, SR, Rowlett, Texas
Jacque Calvert, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), MB, Sr, Kansas City, Mo.
Hope Leimbach, Midland (Neb.), S, So, Lincoln, Neb.
Maddie Bell, Mount Mercy (Iowa), MB, Sr, Ely, Iowa
Makenzie Fink, Northwestern (Iowa), RS, Sr, Lanark, Ill.
Essence West, Oklahoma Panhandle (Okla.), OH, SO, Dallas, Texas
Janelle Skinner, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), S, JR, Bolingbrook, Ill.
Kalani Ketchens, Our Lady of the Lake (Texas), OH, SR, San Antonio, Texas
Noura Meawad, Park (Mo.), RS, Sr, Cairo, Egypt
Sacha Legros, Providence (Mont.), L, SR, Verviers, Belgium
Sadie Lott, Providence (Mont.), OH, FR, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Ayla Embry, Rocky Mountain (Mont.), L, SO, Bozeman, Mont.
Breanna Brooks, San Diego Christian (Calif.), MB, FR, Gilbert, Ariz.
Macie Rhoads, Shawnee State (Ohio), OH, JR, Circleville, Ohio
Alexis Mealer, SAGU (Texas), OH, JR, Arlington, Texas
Jill Kavalauskas, St. Ambrose (Iowa), OH, JR, Chicago, Ill.
Amanda Adams, Taylor (Ind.), OH, Sr, Heath, Ohio
Shayna Baugh, Union (Ky.), MB, JR, Tucson, Ariz.
American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA)
Spring 2021 NAIA Region Awards
WEST CENTRAL REGION
Aiden Brown, McPherson, OH, FR
Tara Callahan, Concordia, S, SR
Ady Dwight, Dakota Wesleyan, MH, FR
Makenzie Fink, Northwestern, OPP, SR
Taliyah Flores, Midland, OH, JR
Kalli Hegerle, Jamestown, OPP, JR
Anna Holen, Jamestown, OH, JR
Brenna Krommendyk, Dordt, MH, SO
Hope Leimbach, Midland, S, SO
Lacey Reitz, Northwestern, S, SR
Paola Sanabria-Lopez, Bethany, OH, SR
Ayona Tharps, Ottawa (KS), OPP, SR
Alli Timmermans, Dordt, OPP, JR
Anna Wedel, Northwestern, OH, SR
Rachel Cushing, College of Saint Mary, L, FR
Corina Huff, Jamestown, MH, SR
Rylee Kenitzer, St. Mary's, OH, SO
Jackie Meiklejohn, Jamestown, S, JR
Emily Monson, Kansas Wesleyan, L, SO
Gabi Nordaker, Concordia, MH, FR
Lucy Skoch, Hastings, OPP, SR
Krista Zenk, Morningside, OH, SR
Region Coach of the Year: Jon Hegerle, Jamestown University
Region Assistant Coach of the Year: Adriana Skipper, Ottawa University (KS)
Region Player of the Year: Anna Wedel, Northwestern, OH, SR.
Region Freshman of the Year: Ady Dwight, Dakota Wesleyan, MH, FR.
Region Defender of the Year: Brenna Krommendyk, Dordt, MH, SO.
Region Setter of the Year: Lacey Reitz, Northwestern, S, SR.