Kelsey Ludin has never felt like the biggest threat at the net.
Though slightly above average in height, Ludin frequently finds she has trouble being competitive at the net when other colleges have taller attackers playing in the front row. Though she stands 5-foot-10, Ludin believes she would be more efficient at her position if she were taller.
“I am one of the shorter girls for my position, even though people would say I’m rather tall…so if I could change something, I would want to be little bit taller, just for volleyball though,” says Ludin with a chuckle.
Though she has discovered her own unique ways to create a presence on the volleyball court, her ultimate goals for life beyond Linfield are radically different from her enjoyment of the game of volleyball.
She is most passionate about helping people and travelling.
A few years ago, Ludin travelled to Peru to assist at an orphanage. She first found her love of helping others there. While in Peru, she discovered a deep compassion and empathy for others, as well as a desire to improve the world.
“I went to an orphanage in Peru and that was kind of where it all started,” Ludin says with a smile about her interest in travel and assisting others. “It works hand-in-hand that I can do that at the same time. That’s what I would really like to do in life, if I could pick anything.”
A health education major, she discovered she enjoys coaching and has opted to pursue the newly implemented coaching minor offered at Linfield. She would like to be able to incorporate coaching into her already busy life, one that includes providing underdeveloped countries with health care and other humanitarian efforts.
It is here where her love of travel comes into play. She has already visited many different places and plans to study in Costa Rica this January.
Teammate Bethany Dickey believes Ludin would be a great coach because of her infectious smile and great charisma.
“Yeah, I think she would be (a good coach). Every time after a point, we all come into the middle, she’s one of the people who always says something or has a cheer and she’s very knowledgeable about volleyball.”
Ludin’s desire to help others and change the world for the better does not stop with people. She is also a vegetarian and had been since a young age. Her reasoning for her vegetarianism is her love of animals.
Ludin truly wants the best for everyone and is driven to help the world improve during her lifetime.
Though she has a desire to explore the world and see it improve, Ludin is acutely aware of the impact her family and background has on her. She thanks her father, John, and mother, Mary Jo, for driving her to all of her practices and being supportive of her volleyball career.
She is also appreciative towards the coach she had when she first started playing club volleyball. When Ludin first started competing, all the girls had already formed tight groups of friends and she did not quite fit in. It was her coach who helped her regain a passion for the game while creating her own identity among her peers.
“I wasn’t really having fun and my team was also losing. I said to myself ‘This is stupid, why am I playing?’ Then I had a really great coach who I really respected and liked and she helped me make it through the season. Towards the middle (of the schedule) I became closer with the girls, and we all had a great season,” says Ludin.
All of the people she formed bonds with have played a role in her becoming the person she is today.
“I definitely think that where you grew up molds who you are, so growing up in a smaller place helps me a lot. People always make fun of me because I say ‘I’ve never driven on the freeway or anything, so driving to Portland is a big deal for me!’”
Home, for Ludin, is Bozeman, Montana.
Ludin chose Linfield for its academic reputation as well as the feel of the school.
“I wanted to go to a small, liberal arts school and came to Linfield, and it was actually a great fit for me. I just really wanted to get out of Montana. I wanted something similar and close to home, but definitely not home,” says Ludin.
She credits her older sister for her discovery of Linfield, but the decision to attend Linfield was entirely her own. Ludin even surprised herself by chossing a school outside of Montana, but she is proud of her decision to leave Big Sky Country behind.
“A lot of my friends go to state schools in Montana and I always thought I would do that. Then, my junior year I realized there were other schools out there, schools like Linfield, which were a lot more prestigious and academically challenging. I’m just proud of myself for moving out of state and picking Linfield.”
She is grateful for the people she has met and the experiences she has enjoyed in McMinnville, especially when it comes to volleyball.
“This is by far my favorite team, especially at Linfield. I know we haven’t been doing that well, but I wouldn’t change our team for anything. I love them and it’s definitely a big mix of girls, but it’s a really good group this year. We have a lot of fun.”
Ludin finds it amusing that, though she is left-handed, she hits the volleyball with her right hand. This fits her personality well. She is conscious of many ways of getting things done and is willing to use any method she deems necessary to help her on her way to achieving her goals. Her strong leadership qualities are helpful in this endeavor as well.
“In volleyball, Kelsey’s a good leader. Even though she’s younger than me, I look up to her on and off the court,” says Dickey. “Even though we don’t hang out very much, she’s fun to be around and has a really good personality.”
Though she may not be the tallest player on the court, she is definitely going to make an enormous positive impact on the world.
– Kelsey McGarry ‘16