Kelly Kirby and Jamie Lancaster Peele, who formed the foundation of some of the best of Hillcrest High School’s volleyball teams, were recognized as such with the retirement of their jerseys Sept. 13 at A.C. Duckett Gymnasium.
“When I first heard about it, I was completely overwhelmed with emotion, just because of how high an honor it is to have your jersey retired at Hillcrest,” Kirby said. “I couldn’t think of anybody better that I would want to be standing beside on a night like this than Jamie.”
Kirby (Class of 2008), a Class AAAA all-state selection in 2006 and 2007, led the Rams to back-to-back state championships in both seasons.
Peele (Class of 2007), also a two-time all-state selection, missed her senior season because of a knee injury but was a captain on the Rams’ title team in 2006.
“I’ve been very blessed through this whole process,” Peele said. “I feel like we had some amazing opportunities through our career here at Hillcrest and in college, and I’m super thankful for this opportunity to come out and have a piece of Hillcrest history.”
“I think it’s an opportunity for us to represent the girls who played with us,” said Kirby. “It’s been kind of cool looking back through pictures, preparing for tonight, thinking about those memories that we had, those teammates we played with and how overall our lives were changed because of Hillcrest volleyball.”
Kirby, who went on to become a three-time All-Southern Conference player at Furman University, now works in the Paladins’ athletic administration in game-day operations.
Peele, who also was a member of Hillcrest’s state championship softball team in 2004, became a two-time All-Conference Carolinas player at Anderson University. She is in the physical therapy program at MUSC and is doing her first clinical rotation in Simpsonville.
The two became the second and third Hillcrest volleyball players to have their jerseys retired, joining Amy Lindell (Class of 1990). They were the first of those who played under Lynn Avant, who is in her 16th season as Hillcrest coach.
“These two are among the best we’ve ever had, and I’m talking whole body, not just volleyball,” Avant said. “I’m talking as a person. I’m talking as Christian young women. I’m talking as family. And they were outstanding in their college careers, both academically and athletically.”
JAMIE (LANCASTER) PEELE FILE
* Class AAAA all-state, 2004, 2005
* Team MVP, 2004, 2005
* Member of state championship team, 2006
* Member of state championship team, 2004
* All-Region 2-AAAA, 2005
First-team All-Conference Carolinas, 2009
ESPN The Magazine Second-Team Academic All-American, 2009, 2010
Conference Carolinas Student-Athlete of the Year, 2009-2010
Anderson University Ed Oxford Female Athlete of the Year, 2009-2010
All-South Atlantic Conference first team, 2010, 2011
4.0 GPA all sevem semesters
KELLY KIRBY FILE
All-Region 2-AAAA, 2005, 2006, 2007
Class AAAA all-state, 2006, 2007
North-South all-star match MVP, 2007
Member of state championship team, 2006, 2007
SoCon Player of the Month for October, 2009
All-Southern Conference second team, 2009
Member of SoCon championship team, 2009
All-Southern Conference first team, 2010, 2011
Only SoCon player named offensive and defensive player of the week, 2009
Senior Order, highest honor society for a female senior at Furman, 2012
C. Dan Joyner Most Outstanding Athletic Leader Award, 2012
FCA vice president, 2009, 2010, 2011