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On the Hunt: When Brockway Sophomore Kalina Powell Isn’t Harvesting Game, She’s Working to be the Best Athlete She Can Be for Rovers

BROCKWAY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Kalina Powell hiked with her father and grandfather across the prairies near Gering, Nebraska, this spring, eyes scanning for their prey.

A Merriam turkey.

It’s one of the subspecies of turkey that make up the “Grand Slam” for hunters, along with the Osceola, Eastern and Rio Grande.

And Powell had a Merriam in her sights.

“I was thinking, ‘Deep breath. Relax. And don’t miss,’” she said.

Powell didn’t.

Then a freshman at Brockway High School, she was the only one to get a Merriam on the 10-day trip that was marked by many challenges, like weather and terrain.

“One minute you’re walking across a super-flat field,” Powell said, “and then the next minute you’re in a 30-foot canyon trying to hike.”

Powell is already an accomplished hunter. She started when she was 11 and has already bagged three deer and three turkeys.

The Merriam is her prized trophy.

But Powell finds hunting and fishing enjoyable for more than what animals she can harvest.

“I just like to be outside in general,” she said. “I’m a very outdoorsy person. When I’m just sitting outside, I find it really relaxing. It’s amazing how you can just sit there and just be and just let everything work out.”

That sense of tranquility belies the fierceness and competitive fire that fuels Powell in, well, everything she does.

Powell describes herself as an athlete as “relentless, self-driven, competitive and passionate.”

The incoming Brockway sophomore has plenty of sports to channel those attributes into: volleyball, basketball and softball.

It’s volleyball, though, that is Powell’s first love.

“I can be quite competitive in all three sports, but especially with volleyball,” Powell said. “I like to win, but it takes a lot to get there and you definitely have to work hard and outwork a bunch of people.”

That was her philosophy as a freshman. No one knew who she was and nothing was going to be handed to her, despite excelling for four years on her club team, Horseshoe Volleyball in Tyrone.

Powell was also playing a very challenging position — libero — and quickly set out to prove herself.

She did.

Powell recorded 324 digs for the Rovers in the fall.

Powell also decided to play basketball and softball for the first time this year.

“A close friend of mine was on the (basketball) team and they really needed some extra players,” Powell said. “It was winter and my club volleyball team hadn’t started yet, so I had quite an amount of free time on my hands. So I decided to give it a shot and I actually ended up enjoying the basketball season.”

Powell joined the softball team to see if she would like it.

She ended up being a big part of the Rovers this spring.

Powell, a second baseman, was second on the team in batting average and third on the team in on base percentage.

Powell, though, hopes to play volleyball in college one day. She’s been playing that sport since the fifth grade.

“Growing up, I became in love with the game,” Powell said. “I was so driven to learn how to do everything the right way and to do everything that was taught to me. I just want to keep working hard to be able to do everything I can to get to the next level.”


NAME: Kalina Powell

SCHOOL: Brockway

YEAR: Sophomore

2021-22 HIGHLIGHTS: As a freshman libero, had 324 digs for the Brockway volleyball team. Was also on a Rovers’ basketball team that won a District 9 championship for the first time in 50 years.

Q: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while playing sports?

A: I learned that just because you show up, that doesn’t mean you will automatically get better. You have to show up and outwork everyone else, and be the best teammate to truly be successful.

Q: What is your pregame routine?

A: I like to clear my mind before a game. Sometimes, it is just taking a few deep breaths, while other times it is listening to music. I visualize my opponent’s best player and where they like to (hit the volleyball).

Q: What do you do to handle a loss?

A: Nobody said losing was easy. It hurts. My club coach once said, “If something does not go according to plan, you will always have next time.” I think about what didn’t go as planned and I try not to let it happen again. The only way to get better is to fix your mistakes.

Q: What are your biggest goals in sports?

A: To play volleyball at the collegiate level. I watch all of these women playing the sport I love and it makes me think, “Hey, someday I want to be just like her.”

Q: Who is someone you want to be like?

A: Lexi Rodriguez. She’s the Nebraska Cornhusker’s libero. She was volleyball’s National Freshman of the Year and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. She worked so hard to get to where she is. It amazed me because there are a ton of good freshmen volleyball college players out there. She just inspired me during my freshman year to outwork a bunch of people and to push myself to get better.