Faces in KS: Jaci Brinker

Jaci Brinker has over 1,300 kills in her career for Valley Falls. (Gena Marie Photography)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Oct 3, 2019

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Jaci Brinker is one of the top small school volleyball players in the state of Kansas. The senior outside hitter from Valley Falls High School is a four-year starter for her team.

Brinker, who stands 5-foot-9, has been a three-time all-state selection as well as a three-time Northeast Kasnas League selection with this season still remaining.

She has also tore it up on the stat column registering over 1,300 kills in her career. She had 190 as a freshman, 326 as a sophomore, 550 as a junior and has 300 and counting so far in 2019 as a senior. She also has 800 digs, 150 blocks and 130 aces in her four-year career. Brinker went over 1,000 last year as a junior in kills. 

Brinker has goals for herself this year like being one of the best 1A volleyball has to offer and getting to the 1,500-kill mark. All goals that could be achievable with a solid season.

The team is rebuilding right now as its no secret with a 7-15 record under Whitney Bryant but Brinker feels like the team is coming along with the hard work they are putting in.

Brinker is also an outstanding student athlete with a 3.9 GPA. She has interest in playing volleyball at the next level but is still undecided. She also plays club volleyball in the off-season.

We caught up with the outstanding senior student athlete below in the latest Q&A edition of Faces in Kansas .

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Q&A w/ Brinker

How did you get involved in volleyball?

When I was young I decided to play with my school team and then I just fell in love with the game.

What are your goals this season?

For the team our goal is to make it to substate and continue to get better every single day. Personal goal, is to be 1A State player of the year and hit at least 1,500 kills.

Do you guys have a shot to make a run this year?

This year is a rebuilding year, but we are working hard everyday to make that our goal for this year and years to come.

What makes you such a force as a player?

My experience as a player and knowing the game, it has built confidence and helps me make the plays I need to.

What’s the atmosphere like to play for your school and town?

The atmosphere is fun but also family oriented, everyone is there to cheer us on win or lose.

For anyone that hasn’t seen one of your games, why come to one?

The small town atmosphere makes coming to watch worth your while. We always make the games exciting, we never just give up no matter who we are playing.

Who are other key players on your team?

Kenzie Nellis is our setter. She brings varsity experience to the court and is the reason I am able to hit the ball affectively. Without Kenzie there is no way I would be where I am at today with my hitting accolades.

Summer Carter is our other outside hitter. She also brings the varsity experience and can put a ball down when we need her to. She also is one of our more consistent passers on the court.

Favorite thing about volleyball?

My favorite thing about volleyball is feeling after getting a huge kill or a big block, nothing tops that.

Do you play any other sports, tell us about that, what other positions do you play?

I have played basketball and softball as well. In softball I played third base. In basketball I was a guard and post, last year I received NEK All-League honors for basketball.

What is it like to play for your coach?

Playing for Whitney is fun and exciting. She knows how to get me fired up and ready to play. She also motivates us to work hard at practice so we can accomplish the goals we want to. Whitney knows what she is talking about and is a great coach. I believe that Coach Bryant will be a big part in future years of success in the Valley Falls volleyball program.

What did you and the team do in the off-season to become better?

In the summer we work hard in the weight room and open gyms to make as many improvement as possible. I play club volleyball in the off school season.

What interest are you seeing at the next level and what are your plans?

I am interested in playing volleyball at the next level, at this time I have not made a decision.

Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports?

Hanging out with my friends and watching Netflix are my favorite things to do when I’m not playing volleyball.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I hope to have a nursing degree, good job, and potentially coaching volleyball somewhere.

Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you, GPA?

Math is my favorite subject, my GPA is a 3.9.

Who is your role model?

Both of my parents are my role models. They push me every day to be the best person and leader I can be. They have also taught me that working hard will get you where you want to be.

Best place to eat in your town or the surrounding area?

Sterwarts Ol’ Smokehouse

One thing the average person wouldn’t know about you?

I have a birthmark in my hair.