SPORTS: Sequim’s multitalented Harrison top volleyball player on Peninsula
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Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News Sequim senior middle blocker Haleigh Harrison (29) prepares to smack the ball as she helps lead the Wolves to Olympic League and West Central District championships.

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By Brad LaBrie

Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — She’s a first soprano, an accomplished pianist and she has dreams of becoming a forensic scientist.

Sequim senior Haleigh Harrison also is a three-sport athlete who was voted the top volleyball player in the Olympic League this past season.

Harrison, a 5-foot-10 middle blocker, and her friend and teammate Taylor Balkan, a senior setter, helped spark the Wolves to the league championship with an undefeated record, the West Central District title and the best 2A state showing in years, just a win away from placing.

Besides being a four-year volleyball letterman, former year-round athlete Harrison also has three letters in basketball and three in track and field.

Harrison did not go out for basketball this just-completed winter season and isn’t out for track this spring because she’s putting all her energy into year-round volleyball after receiving a partial-scholarship to play at Western Washington University.

It was a tough decision for Harrison not to play basketball this year under first-year coach Evan Still.

“The new coach is a friend of the family and I really wanted to play for him,” Harrison said.

She also wanted to play one more season beside good friend Balkan. The pair played together for four years in volleyball and three seasons in basketball.

But the athletic Harrison is focusing on volleyball full-time right now and is skipping basketball and track in order to take her volleyball game to a new level.

“I want to fulfill my dream of becoming one of the best [in volleyball],” she said.

Harrison, a middle blocker in high school, will switch to outside hitter in college.

At 5-10, Harrison is short for a middle blocker.

“Haleigh plays taller,” Sequim coach Jennie Webber-Heilman said.

“She is very athletic, she can move very well across the net, and she is one of the quickest players at the net.

“She’s also a very good jumper, a state-caliber high jumper.”

The All-Peninsula MVP will be taking that quickness and athleticism to the outside, which has a different skill set than the middle, at Western Washington.

Although Harrison played the middle her entire high school career, she has been playing outside hitter the past six months in club volleyball.

“You’re more of a blocker in the middle, but you pass more on the outside, play more defense and you’re a transition hitter more,” Harrison said.

Webber-Heilman not only is losing one of her top players from the past four years to graduation, but she also is losing one of her most coachable players.

“Haleigh is a very nice person,” the coach said.

“She is very, very, very humble and a good athlete. She works hard, and she is such a hard worker she can hurt herself sometimes.”

Harrison admits she needs to tone it down at times.

“I do really get into volleyball sometimes, and really get overwhelmed and I don’t think about my safety,” Harrison said.

She did tweak her left knee late in the track season last year and didn’t go to state because of the injury. Her left leg is her jumping leg in high jump.

She takes on life the same way she approaches volleyball workouts.

Harrison took piano and singing lessons most of her childhood, becoming the first soprano at Sequim High School on the select choir.

She played the piano from age 6 until she took up sports in the eighth grade.

“I still tinker with the piano sometimes,” she says.

When she’s not playing volleyball at Western Washington, Harrison will be majoring in chemistry and biology, and she wants to minor in music.

She’s considering using the chemistry and biology to become a forensic scientist and possibly having a career in law enforcement.

Last modified: March 06. 2013 5:57PM
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