Hilley is Champlin Park’s Athena winner

Sports Editor

Champlin Park senior Sydney Hilley has been on the receiving end of many prestigious accolades during her high school career.

Sydney Hilley. (Submitted photo)
Sydney Hilley. (Submitted photo)

So far during her senior year, Hilley, a setter/outside hitter on the Champlin Park volleyball team, took her team to the state title match, earned a place on the All-State team, won Minnesota’s Gatorade Player of the Year for the second year in a row, and won the Ms. Volleyball award. Hilley served as a captain on the USA Women’s Junior National team and won the 2016 USAV 18-open national championship while earning MVP honors at the tournament, while also being named to the prep volleyball All-American squad for the third time and to the Under Armour first-team All-American squad for the first time.

Hilley ended her Champlin Park career with 1,891 kills, 1,502 set assists and 1,092 digs.

Hilley’s work on the court translated to in the classroom, where she was named Academic All-State in addition to spending two years with the National Honor Society.

“Going to Champlin Park is probably one of the best things that has happened to me,” Hilley said. “I’ve learned so much as a student from some outstanding teachers, but also my volleyball career has been absolutely incredible.

“I really couldn’t have asked for better coaches, teammates, and fans for my entire four years. A lot of volleyball players don’t get to experience what I was able to – one of the greatest student sections in the state and a team that pushed for success every year and had really high expectations, so I’m very thankful for that.”

Hilley added to her list of accolades when she was named Champlin Park’s Athena Award winner earlier this month. The awards go to outstanding senior female athletes from each of the 50 metropolitan area high schools. Students were nominated by their coaches as outstanding senior female athletes. They are selected based on excellence in an individual sport or for participation and accomplishment in group sports.

“Being named Athena is an incredible honor,” Hilley said. “There are so many talented and strong female athletes at Champlin Park in the senior class and to be recognized among them is a really great feeling.

“My mom also got this award when she was in high school, so that’s pretty cool.”

Hilley, who graduated early to begin her career at University of Wisconsin-Madison, found out the news through her mother and later through Champlin Park activities director Matt Mattson.

“I was super excited to find out that I had won the award and also for an opportunity to come home and see my coaches and teachers who have helped me along the way,” Hilley said.

Despite having her senior year cut down to just a few months because of her early graduation, Hilley said her senior year was her “most fun year of high school.”

“Just knowing that everything you were doing was your last, it made it that much more special,” Hilley said. “I made so many memories on and off the court that I will remember forever.

“Now that I’m at Madison, I realized that there are some things I’m going to miss about going to Champlin. I’m really grateful for my high school experience and for everyone that made it great.”

Contact Chris Chesky at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @MNSunSports or @SunSportsChris.