October 21, 2020 – By NJP (Feature photo by Brian Bailey)
It’s always impressive to see a student athlete excel at two sports. We live in an age where many athletes play their main sport year round to gain an advantage over other players. The past generation remembers switching every season to new sports and the kids at your school or neighborhood always had a wide variety. Kids that were great in some sports may not have been so great at others so everyone had a chance to shine at some point during the year. But when you find an athlete like McKenzie Melvin of the Williamstown Braves, who is scholarship material in multiple sports, it’s quite astounding.
Like some of last years stars like Anna Morris from Immaculate Heart or Jenna Rogers at Rutherford, they opted for other sports when they were quite literally in the top 5 in the state at volleyball. 6’4″ Anna is playing basketball at Northwestern and Jenna is one of the best high jumpers in the country and is attending Nebraska. McKenzie will be joining these girls and is headed to D1 Delaware State to play softball. And belive me you totally get in when you see her highlight video.
But McKenzie also has a love for the game of volleyball. As a senior this year, she will be the go-to player on the squad that finished 30-3 last season and took home a Sectional state title in group 4. As a junior, McKenzie amassed 116 kills and 123 digs, even with a strong group of senior standouts on the championship team. She is poised to put up some major numbers for the Braves in Spring 21.
McKenzie will also be playing club volleyball for the first time this winter to prep for the season. EVA will benefit from her skills at the 18 level. And McKenzie will be primed for the upcoming season. Her competitive nature equates to natural leadership whether on the volleyball hard court or the baseball diamond.
McKenzie aspires to be in the medical field, is driven and goal oriented, and is likely to achieve the goals she sets out to accomplish. Williamstown is projected by NJP as a top 10 team in the state (#9) and will be another fun team to watch and root for in Dubtown. With McKenzie leading the way…
Here is our interview with Ms. Melvin…
Tell us a bit about yourself, McKenzie?
Hello my name is McKenzie Melvin. I am a Senior at Williamstown High School and will be graduating this June. I have lived in Williamstown, New Jersey since I was 2 years old. My mom’s name is Kelley and is a Physical Education Teacher and my dad’s name is Walt who is a Physical Therapist Assistant. I am an only child so I was fortunate that my parents were able to solely focus on me. My parents are very supportive and only want the best for me. They have helped me create a path for myself to become a successful teenager.
How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
I have been playing volleyball for 8 years now. I started playing when I was in 6th grade at St. Mary’s School in Williamstown. I am a very athletic person, competitive, and volleyball is fast paced which I enjoy. I love being a part of a team and working together for one common goal.
What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What’s your favorite position to play?
My position is outside hitter and I also play all around. I am 5’7 in height. I play club volleyball for Eastern Volleyball Academy. This is my first year playing club volleyball since our season has been pushed back until February. This will allow me to get more reps in before the season begins. I love just being on the court but my favorite position is outside hitter.
Tell us about your Braves teammates. Who do you expect will be this year’s standout and up and coming players?
My teammates are all hardworking and dedicated. We have a lot of potential this year to become Conference Champs. Unfortunately, due to the Covid virus we will not be able to become back to back State Champs because we are only able to play Conference games. We lost 5 seniors last year and we are losing another Senior this year due to early enrollment at Syracuse. I do believe with the talent we have a Williamstown High we will become Conference Champs again this season.
NJP considers you as one of the top players in the state. We see you have committed to Delaware State to play D1 softball. Congrats…Were you looking at volleyball schools as well?
To be honest, I was not looking for volleyball schools because softball is my main sport since I was younger.
Dubtown had an outstanding season last year finishing 30-3 and winning a Group 4 sectional state championship. What is your expectation for this years squad?
I believe that if we take the motivation, hard work, and determination from last season and direct it into this year’s season we will follow up on our success. There is no doubt with the coaching staff we have and players on the team this can happen again for us. I am looking forward to seeing what can be again.
Can you tell us about your best memories from your junior year season?
My best memories from my Junior year was winning our Conference, Sectionals, and becoming State Champs at William Paterson College. After we became “State Champs” our High School had a parade for us through the town of Williamstown and drove the team around the track during half time at a football game. Another great memory was winning the Bloomfield Invitational Tournament. Our team was very close and we had many team bonding get-togethers which helped us become stronger on the court. Our chant “We Got We” meant we had each other’s backs and we play together as one. Putting that all together means you become “State Champs”.
As a junior, you posted 116 kills, 123 digs and 28 aces. What are your personal goals for the 2021 spring season?
My personal goals for the spring: to Increase the number of kills, digs, and aces. I just want to be the best player, leader, and teammate that I can be.
Who is your support group?
My support groups are my friends and family. My Mom (Kelley), Dad (Walt), grandparents (Mike & Lorraine), aunts, and cousins. It is very important to have a support system because that helps with your success.
What is your favorite volleyball story?
My favorite story is winning the State Championship game. I will never forget the feeling I had with my teammates and the amazing things that happened for us after. We were escorted by the police back to our High School after we won, the party my family had for the team, town parade, driven around the track and announced during half time at a football game, selecting our State Champ rings and jackets, receiving our State Champ jackets at Coach Sheps house . This was such an amazing season and I am so grateful I was able to be a part of such a great program!
Have you won any awards such as All County or All State or others?
I won second team all conference my Junior year.
What are your other hobbies or interests?
I play High School softball for Williamstown and travel ball for NJ Gators. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends.
What do you plan to study in college or what is your career path?
I plan on studying Nursing or Biology at Delaware State University. After DSU, I plan on going to medical school to become a PA in Dermatology.
Is there a teacher or coach who really helped you along the way?
The Coach that really helped me along to become the player I am was Coach Shep. Coach Shep is so dedicated to his players and program. Shep is so knowledgeable in the sport of volleyball. He motivates every player and only wants the best for us on and off the court. You can count on him to be there in all aspects of his players’ lives. He pushes us to be the best players that we can be. The Williamstown High School Volleyball program is like a family. Also, Coach Shep likes to add different things into our workouts by using special sayings and creating different games to pump us up to go far in the season. I would just like to thank him for believing in me, supporting me, and making me be the best player I could be! I will truly miss him!!! Another volleyball coach that meant a lot to me was Coach Coop. He also is very knowledgeable with the sport, motivator, and mentor. Thank you Coach Coop for your dedication to our volleyball program and players!! I will really miss you too!!