Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Titan seniors make impact on court

Courtesy of Amelia Hust -- Oshkosh’s senior defensive specialist Amelia Hust sets the ball to a teammate during a match at the Kolf Sports Center last season.
Courtesy of Amelia Hust — Oshkosh’s senior defensive specialist Amelia Hust sets the ball to a teammate during a match at the Kolf Sports Center last season.

The fall season has brought forward two new UW Oshkosh volleyball seniors, Riley Kindt and Amelia Hust, to lead their team and set their legacy.

Kindt began her volleyball career in elementary school with few aspirations of grandeur, focusing on having fun with her teammates and friends. 

“I was (in) about fourth or fifth grade when I first started,” she said. “It was fun and I liked it but I never thought I would ever go far because I wasn’t the tallest. I just played because it was super fun and all of my friends played.”

In middle school, Kindt decided to pursue club volleyball. After making it into a club, family struggles made her consider quitting. She resolved to stay in the club and she said it was her greatest year in the sport. 

“In middle school I decided I should do club,” she said. “I made it onto a club and my family went through some things and I was going to quit. I ended up not quitting, and that was my best year I ever had in the club.”

In high school volleyball, Kindt’s program had a strong upperclassmen presence. During her junior year, the team lost their coach and 13 seniors, giving Kindt the perspective of building and leading a program.

Kindt began looking into collegiate level sports and was indecisive whether to compete in volleyball or track and field. After offers from schools including UW-Madison, she decided that she wasn’t passionate enough about track and field to commit to the Badgers.

“I was getting recruited for track even more than volleyball so I was in between those for college,” she said. “I was indecisive until the last minute so I did a lot of visits for track and volleyball. I ruled schools out and I was considering doing track at Madison. I realized it’s probably not a good idea because I didn’t love track that much.”

When Kindt arrived at UWO, she wasn’t sure how she felt about the campus as COVID-19 had disrupted campus. However, after starting her first season with the team, Kindt said she realized the strength of the program that coach Jon Ellmann leads.

“I came here and I didn’t know how I would like it because I came during COVID-19,” she said. “As I started volleyball it all came together and I can’t imagine myself going anywhere else. Ellmann really recruits for character and does not recruit people who don’t align with our program values.”

She said that the character shows in her friendships with her teammates and their relationship with the coaching staff in all of the experiences they’ve shared.

“Ellmann is particular and that shows,” she said. “All of the girls I’ve met so far are my best friends. Traveling around the country and having a lot of cool experiences. He tries to make it feel really special for all of us. I feel really close to every person on the team.”

In her position of seniority, Kindt tries to lead by example to instill the UWO volleyball culture in the underclassmen. She said that preaching falls short of leading by example.

“A lot of it is leading by example,” she said. “I’m really going to make it a priority to be a good role model and example for those freshmen so that they can follow in those footsteps. I’m not the No. 1 person to look up to, but I try to be a good model. You can say a lot of things and preach but nobody’s going to do it unless you lead by example.”

Kindt said that her family’s continuous support has helped her throughout the duration of her volleyball career. Whether financial or emotional support, she said they made sacrifices for her sake.

“My family has gone through it all with me, traveling all over the country to watch me play,” Kindt said. “Sports are not cheap so they really helped me go through that financially. Just them sacrificing their money to give me experiences that I love to do and that will shape me, that’s selfless of them.  They went above and beyond to make me feel special and happy. I have family across the country that call and Facetime me.”

Beyond support from family, she said that the leadership on the team works restlessly to take care of Kindt and her teammates.

“Ellmann and assistant coach Braeden Melton treat us like their family,” she said. “They always sacrifice and want nothing but the best for us. They work tirelessly to make us feel like we are supported and get everything that we need.”

Hust said that she began her volleyball career in fifth grade in a club that her sister was a player on.  

“I started playing club volleyball in fifth grade,” she said. “My sister inspired me to start playing – she played at the same club. I was playing just for fun.”

After five years of playing she said that she became interested in joining the collegiate level, but she was unsure due to physical injuries during high school.

“I knew I wanted to play in college my freshman year of highschool,” she said. “I had a couple knee surgeries that took me out, so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it.”

In the midst of being unsure, Ellmann reached out to Hust, inviting her to a UWO volleyball camp. She said that despite being unsure, the experience gave her a good experience with the team.

“Jon (Ellman) reached out to me asking if I wanted to come to a camp,” she said. “I figured I’d give it a try. I went and I really liked the coaching staff.”

During her senior year of high school she decided she would pursue nursing and decided against spreading herself thin by being a student-athlete. After talking to the team, she realized that she would have the support to be a student and athlete.

“In my senior year I decided to do nursing and not pursue volleyball,” she said. “After talking to coaches and players, they told me I would be able to pursue both.”

When she joined the team, COVID-19 was ravaging all aspects of life. This forced the team to stick to practicing, but she said it also forced the team to know each other better.

“My first year was different due to COVID,” she said. “We practiced every day and it was a hard year, but it’s definitely worth it going through all the practices and getting to know the team better. It’s crazy that I’m a senior now.”

When Hust entered the team she said that she was timid about her place, but that over the span of years she’s progressed to become someone who wants to be a member that her teammates can depend on for her knowledge.

“I was really quiet my freshman year,” she said. “I didn’t say much and went with the flow of things. As I’ve progressed I’ve become more confident vocally with my teammates. I want to be someone the team can lean on. I feel like I have a lot of wisdom and knowledge to give.”

Hust said this growth comes from her coaches who recognize her improvements and changes.

“My coaches have made me feel like I’ve grown as a person,” she said.

Her relationship with her team doesn’t just revolve around volleyball. Hust said that they are not only teammates, but loving friends.

“This team is really special in the way we value each other,” she said. “It’s not always about volleyball. When you meet us it’s obvious we love each other very much. It’s special.”

After this season, the senior  class moves on to life outside of college and both seniors intend to pursue a nursing career.

Kindt said that she is excited to further her education and she plans to intern in a Milwaukee hospital.

“I currently do not have anything lined up,” she said. “I have 1.5 years left of education. I plan to get an internship at a hospital down in the Milwaukee area. I’m excited for the next semester because we learn more about the area of nursing we want to go into because there’s a lot to go into for the nursing world.”

During her final times here at Oshkosh, Kindt said that she has an opportunity to take a fifth year on the UWO volleyball team, but will support the team whatever she decides to do.

“It’ll be interesting to see everything from the outside perspective,” she said. “I have the option for a fifth year, but if I don’t take it I’d like to support the team from the outside.”

Hust said that she plans to work on the pediatric level, but until then she will move back to Madison and gain experience.

“I would love to work on a pediatric unit of some kind,” she said. “I’ll probably move back home to Madison after I graduate, get a year or two of experience and then possibly go back to school to do my nurse practitioner degree.”

After she graduates, she said she would still visit and support the UWO volleyball team.

“I plan to come back to Oshkosh a lot because a lot of my friends will be staying here,” she said. “I’m excited to come back and see how the team progresses.”

Kindt and Hust have been active members of the UWO community through their participation in the UWO athletics department. In their final year with the volleyball program, they’ve enjoyed all the team has to offer and will try to give back what they can while representing UWO.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Advance-Titan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest