Huff, The Lady Longhorns' ‘Sparkplug' At The Net

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For senior Haylee Huff, this year is full of promise.

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Coach Arnold Stonebrink is counting on senior Haylee Huff to assume the leadership role of the Lady Longhorns volleyball team this year. "She's maybe the hardest-working player I've ever worked with," the coach said. She has a tremendous work ethic and a superb attitude."

She is taking some of her last classes at Payson High School, competing in volleyball and basketball, gearing up to contend for homecoming queen and preparing for college.

Still, she's not ready to be done yet.

"I hope this year goes slow," the 17-year-old said. "I'm excited and nervous."

Huff was born in a small town in Wyoming. When she moved to Payson it seemed like a big town.

Over the years, Huff has conquered the town and has built a reputation as a hard worker and a strong athlete.

Last year, she was voted to a Grand Canyon All-Regional basketball team, she set a school record for assists in basketball, had the best record for free-throw shooting and served as a captain on the varsity volleyball team.

This year, seven varsity players will return to the volleyball team, and Huff expects to go to state.

Volleyball Coach Arnold Stonebrink said Huff would definitely take a leadership role on the team this year.

"She's a regular sparkplug," he said. "She's maybe the hardest-working player I've ever worked with. She has a tremendous work ethic and a superb attitude."

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Senior Haylee Huff, a two-sport Lady Longhorn, credits her fitness to weight training, running and "Sweet 16s," a tortuous drill that requires a player to run and touch the sidelines of the basketball court 16 times.

Huff will return as the starting setter, a critical position on the volleyball court.

Teammate Rikki Ray, a senior, said she enjoys playing with Huff because of her optimistic spirit.

"She's always uplifting about everything," Ray said. "She gives 110 percent all the time."

Huff said she is always diving for balls in volleyball and in basketball she tries to get in other players' faces. When it comes to basketball it's more hard core."

The training in basketball is more vigorous, including weight training, running and "Sweet 16s" -- a tortuous drill that requires a player to run and touch the court sideline 16 times.

As far as her future plans go, Huff said she would love to play basketball at Arizona State University. She's also considering Central Arizona College. Eventually she would like to be an anesthesiologist, she said.

"Maybe I will want to come back (to Payson) to start a family," she said. "Not too far from mom and dad."

Until then, Huff and her friends will spend this year going to the movies, going out driving, painting messages on their friends' cars and tubing down the Salt River.

Huff is known as the social coordinator in her group as she always tries to get people together.

"She always makes you smile," senior Britney Owens said.

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