Chandler, AZ-- For the third consecutive year, the CGCC Volleyball team has produced an NJCAA All-American, which means one of the top volleyball players in all of junior college competition across the country, have come from right here in the Coyote Center. These people are the top 1% of their field. Previous Coyotes were Jazmyn Tate in 2021, Jada Blake in 2022 and this year the honor was accomplished by Kennedy Dastrup.
Dastrup, the Westwood High School of Mesa graduate was the ACCAC Player of the Year and recently named an NJCAA First Team All-American, placing her amongst the top six or seven players in the nation. Her numbers speak for themselves, in 20 matches during the regular season, she accumulated 276 kills which averages to 3.58 kills per set on a .330 hitting percentage. The 6'4 Sophomore averaged 1.16 blocks per set and amassed 89 total blocks with 20 solo blocks. Kennedy was a member of a team that competed in the Region 1 playoffs, one of the most competetive regions for volleyball in the NJCAA. But all of these numbers are only half the story.
Dastrup was supposed to play for the Coyotes right out of high school in the 2021 season but with the impending birth of her son, she decided to sit out that year and prepare for the following season. Her perseverance and ability to manage all that is on her plate to even get out on the court, is an acccomplishment in itself. Much less be one of the premier players in the United States. Her Head Coach Jeff Nelson said, "Kennedy has worked very hard balancing family, life, academics and volleyball to achieve this great honor. She was one of only two middle blockers in the nation selected to the First Team. I couldn't be more proud of her and what she has accomplished. Transformations happen all the time, hers has been nothing short of amazing. I can't wait to see what the future holds for her."
Russell Luce, CGCC Athletic Director also added, "Kennedy had a monster year for us and was a team leader. Her story is really great. She is a full time student, a full time mother and a full time All-American. We are really excited for her future and what she is going to accomplish. This honor is well deserved and we are proud of her. Her coach Jeff Nelson has done an amazing job with the program. Three years in the region tournament, three years nationally ranked and three All-Americans in a row. Coyote Volleyball has really become something great."
Finally, Kennedy herself mentioned, "I'm extremely fortunate and proud of my title. I'm grateful to God for his unwavering love. I'm beyond blessed for the lessons I've learned along this journey. I would like to thank my coaches, family, and team for their support. Without their help and encouragement, I could not have succeeded. I adore each and every one of them."
The future is bright for both Dastrup and the Coyote program. The previous two All-American Coyote Volleyball players both earned full NCAA athletic scholarships and are currently pursuing Bachelors degrees. Where Kennedy lands next is still up for debate but no matter where she goes, she will go down as one of the all-time great Coyote athletes and success stories.