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Freshman Jenny Howard went into her first season on the Webster University volleyball team hoping to win a starting position. She earned much more than that. Howard was named the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year. She was also an All-Conference first team selection.
Howard led the SLIAC in hitting percentage (.318) and was fifth in kills per set (2.91).
Howard was among four freshmen who started for Webster (19-13 overall, 14-2 SLIAC), which swept the SLIAC tournament by defeating Westminster College 3-0 and Greenville College 3-0. Howard was named to the All-Tournament team.
“She is just a very talented player, but she also has a very competitive spirit,” Webster coach Merry Graf said. “She likes to win. She does not want to be on the losing side of anything. She’s hard on herself, but in a good fashion. It’s not over the top criticizing herself, but she’s never satisfied. She wants more, which is great for an athlete of her caliber to have.”
Howard also starred for the track team. In the Rose-Hulman Twilight on April 20, she finished first in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. She ran the 100 in 12.78 seconds in the field of nine runners. In the 200, which had a field of 19 runners, Howard ran a 26.14.
It was the first time a Webster athlete has won two different events in the same meet. Howard said she was able to perform well in both volleyball and track due to her devotion to each sport.
“The biggest thing is being dedicated and giving 110 percent in practices,” Howard said. “Also, by having fun and actually enjoying what I’m doing. I was hoping to do well. I was hoping to at least for volleyball be a starter and get a lot of playing time, but I wasn’t expecting to get Newcomer of the Year or first team All-Conference.
“I really hoped to do well in track. It’s been a hard season. I’ve been sick and I’ve had a lot of injuries, but I’ve just been trying my best and it’s going pretty well so far.”
Runner-up: Allison Tungate, women’s tennis