Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

July 20, 2013

GC Volleyball: Hanging tough: Biltz stars in national tournament.

- — Advil is her friend, her buddy, her teammate.

They hang out together from time to time when Caroline Biltz plays volleyball.

She plays every day.

And she smiles when she plays. My, oh my, how she smiles.

You would never know she has to deal with Osgood-Schlatter disease, a knee condition that a lot of youngsters and young adults have as they grow. It’s an inflammation just below the knee at the shinbone where the patella and tibia are attached.

It hurts.

And sometimes it hurts a lot.

“Yeah, it hurts,’’ said Caroline, who is 14. “It does quite a bit. The more I do the more it hurts, and whenever I land it hurts pretty bad. But I just don’t acknowledge it. I try to ignore it.’’

That’s Caroline Biltz — tough and determined.

She has just learned to play through it, even those bitter times when she lands on her knee and the pain is unbearable. She’ll hit the floor, and the tears will come.

“Yeah, I just wipe them a way,’’ she said. “I really love volleyball.’’

The painful irony is that Caroline’s condition is because she grew too fast, and the irony is now that she is becoming older she is growing even faster on the volleyball court.

Her latest growth spurt (the one on the court) came recently when she and her teammates from a club team in Waco finished third in the nation in a national tournament at the Dallas Convention Center, where club teams from around the nation showed up.

Waco lost twice, won eight times, and walked away with third place in the 14-and-under division. Caroline, the team’s outside hitter, was a big part of the success, and it’s still hard to imagine how Carolinas, who is 5-6, ended up as one of the most competitive hitters in her age group. Most of the big hitters in the tournament were 5-10, 5-11 and 6-feet tall or taller.

Her secret?

It’s her work ethic,’’ said Navarro College coach Kasey McBrearty, who has been Caroline’s private coach giving her lessons for the past year. “Hard work pays off, Every coach wants kids as committed as Caroline.’’

McBrearty said when Caroline finished high school that she won’t be recruiting her to play at Navarro.

“I’m not recruiting her,’’ she said. “She will be recruited by much bigger schools. It will be up to Caroline (if she ends up at a Division I school) or if she wants to go to a smaller college.’’

McBrearty said Caroline will be a defensive player in college, but for now the 5-6 hitter still loves going to the net and getting the kill. She has a 22-inch vertical leap and proved herself this year in Waco, where they moved her from the right side to the left outside hitter where she could do the most damage.

Caroline is the only member of the Waco club from outside the Waco area, and her commitment is pretty easy to measure when you consider she makes the two-and-a-half hour round trip twice a week to Waco to practice, and then practices another two-and-a-half  hours when she gets there.

Her mother, Susan, and father, John, take turns driving her.

It never affected her academics. Caroline is a straight A student, and always found a way to juggle school, family and volleyball.

A lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a couple of orchards of green apples have been eaten along the way. There’s not a lot of time for dinner when you send five hours committed to volleyball.

It wasn’t always that way.

Caroline is one of those kids who just loves sports.

“I played soccer and softball, basketball and I was in gymnastics,’’ she said. “I didn’t play volleyball until I was in sixth grade. I just love it. When I was in seventh grade I decided to try club volleyball.’’

It just makes sense. Caroline’s sister, Briana plays for Corsicana High. She will be one of the senior leaders of this year’s team.

 “When they were younger Briana would be playing volleyball and Caroline would be off to the side bouncing the ball,’’ Susan Biltz said. “She always loved sports. She would run so hard playing soccer that she would throw up. Then she would go back on the field and run some more.’’

Then there is that smile.

It’s electric and non-stop.

“When she was at nationals they were saying she is the spark of the team,’’ McBrearty said. “She is always smiling. She is always having fun playing volleyball. She exudes what this game should look like and shows how much she loves this sport. She plays with fire.’’

The national tournament helped Caroline in countless ways.

“We saw so many college coaches there,’’ she said. “And we got to meet and have our picture taken with the Olympic coach. It was a great experience seeing teams from other states and playing with that kind of competition. I think I’ve gotten a lot better. I took a lot of lessons and worked hard to prepare for the nationals. It was a great experience.’’

1
Text Only
Sports
  • CHS SotfballSpence.jpg GC Softball: Playoff Time

    There  were some bumps on the road and slides in the standings and a few bruises along the way, but five Golden Circle teams have reached the softball playoffs that begin with first round games on Thursday.
    For Corsicana it was a wakeup call during the second half of district play that gave the Tigers the push they needed, and for Mildred it was the culmination of yet another splendid season as the Lady Eagles made the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Blooming Grove is back again, a regular in post season play with a chance to make a run, and Hubbard begins its quest to get to the state tournament and Austin with a one-game playoff on Thursday against Itasca in Italy.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NVSBAhearn.jpg Navarro Softball: Bulldogs split with Kilgore, win final home game

    Kristen Ahearn was mad, steaming.
    Even her peanut butter and jelly sandwich that she ate between the doubleheader games didn't taste good. Nothing fit. Nothing was in sync. Nothing felt right or even tasted right.
    Then Ahearn found the cure.
    Simple enough: Just go out and blast a three-run homer.
    That's the short version of what happened Tuesday at Navarro College, where Ahearn's three-run bomb ignited the Bulldogs in the second game against Kilgore and Navarro went on to win 8-5 to close out its regular season with a bang and a smile from Ahearn.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • KerensBBAnderson.jpg GC Baseball: Kerens beats Cayuga 5-1, wins first district title since 1981

    The wait is over.
    And it came just in time for Brett Anderson, who left it all on the mound Tuesday night at Kerens, where he pitched a masterpiece to lead the Bobcats over Cayuga, 5-1, and help the program win its first baseball district title since 1981.
    “I've got no gas left. I'm out,'' said Anderson, a senior lefty who stopped Cayuga cold, holding the three-time defending district champs to just three singles while striking out 14.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • GC Basebal Roundup: Corsicana blasts Jacksonville; BG wins huge district game

    The Corsicana Tigers wrapped up district play with a dominating 9-0 win over the Jacksonville Indians behind Trevor Nolen, who shut out the Indians and allowed only one hit over 6 1/3 innings.  Donovan Fields came on to retire the final two hitters. The Tiger pitchers limited the Indians to only 25 plate appearances in the game and no runner to reach third base.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-23-14 Rodeo clown.jpg Rodeo: Navarro County Derrick Days -- Burton is back

    He's back.
    Professional rodeo entertainer Ronald Burton returns to the Navarro County Exposition Center  April 25-26 to entertain the crowd at the 2014 Navarro County Derrick Days Pro Rodeo.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huggins rodeo Huggins to call shots at Derrick Days Rodeo

    West Huggins will serve as the announcer for the 2014 Navarro County Derrick Days Pro rodeo. The Gardendale native is the reigning three-time United Professional Rodeo Association Announcer of the Year.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NC baseball Whoa 300th Dill gets 300th win in Navarro baseball sweep of Bossier Parish

    Navarro baseball’s weekend in Louisiana was significant on a number of fronts. On one hand, coach Whoa Dill notched his 300th win. On the other, and perhaps more importantly, the Bulldogs simply continued to play well. The Bulldogs swept Bossier Parish to move 14-11 in Region XIV East Zone play, and 27-17 overall.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mildred sending five to regional track meet

    Sasha Ballard set a school record in the 800 meters and paced a contingent of five Mildred thinclads heading to Stephenville for the regionals later this week.

    April 21, 2014

  • Kerens boys grab four gold medals at area track meet

    Tavion Hall and Jalon Moss each snared a pair of gold medals as Kerens boys finished second at their area track meet last week with 88 points.

    April 21, 2014

  • Area schedule for the week

    Here's a look at this week's schedule for Golden Ciircle teams and Navarro College. The schedule does not include upcoming bi-district playoff games in softball because times and sites have yet to be determined.

    April 18, 2014