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Addison star volleyball player Jessy Willingham blocks a South hit back into its court during the All-Star Sports Week game in Huntsville on Thursday. Willingham and her North teammates won all three games.
Daily photo by Brennen Smith
Addison star volleyball player Jessy Willingham blocks a South hit back into its court during the All-Star Sports Week game in Huntsville on Thursday. Willingham and her North teammates won all three games.

Willingham follows the winning way
Addison volleyball star displays skills at state all-star competition

By Ashley Hargrove
sports@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

HUNTSVILLE — Jessy Willingham knows all about the rich tradition that the volleyball team at Addison High School carries both during the season and in the offseason.

Not only was she the fourth player in three years to be picked for the North squad in the annual Alabama All-Star Sports Week, but she knows she might have a chance at following her other three teammates to the next level.

"This is just an awesome experience," Willingham said. "I was a bit surprised that I even got picked. I'm really hoping to get an offer to play basketball somewhere, but the door is still open for volleyball too. It just depends on where I get offers from."

Willingham also plays basketball and softball for the Bulldogs.

Recent Addison graduate Kayla Woodard participated in the Alabama All-Star Sports Week in 2006 and signed to play volleyball at Mississippi State this fall. Lana Pigg and Chelaine McCarty were both members of the 2005 North squad. Pigg plays at Northwest-Shoals, while McCarty plays at Auburn.

Their coach Pam Wilkins was the North coach in 2004.

Willingham helped the North sweep the South in three games. She finished with four kills, 10 assists, three digs and six points. Grissom's Leanna King was voted most valuable player for the North squad.

Addison was out in full force at Spragins Hall on the campus of Alabama-Huntsville on Thursday to show support for Willingham. Many of her high school teammates, along with coaches, were there cheering her on.

Pigg and McCarty were in attendance.

Woodard called Willingham.

"Having all the people from Addison here was great," Willingham said. "With me getting to play, it kind of gives Addison some recognition. It just says that 2A can play with 6A. I wasn't just playing for myself, I was playing for everyone in Addison."

Willingham said she feels like she proved herself in the second game and that was the reason she played plenty in the third game. "I was really surprised that I got to play as much as I did," Willingham said. "I feel like I played pretty well the second game. I like being a hitter, but I did a better job of passing today. That doesn't matter, though, because I like it all."

With Addison having volleyball workouts this summer, Willingham said she feels like it helped her performance in Thursday's game.

"I think it helped some," Willingham said. "I've been working hard all summer. I feel pretty confident about this year. I'm just ready to get it started."

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