The successful athletic journey of Fort Worth native Kristen Hester began in 6th grade.
Despite growing up in a basketball family, Kristen and her sister, Irene, convinced their father that volleyball was the sport for them. Kristen joined a club volleyball team her sophomore year of high school and continued the sport into college.
This season marks the first year during in her college career that Kristen,a senior communication studies major, will not be playing on the court with her sister.
Former TCU volleyball outside hitter Irene graduated last fall and is now playing volleyball in Switzerland for the next 9 months.
Kristen explains what this season will be like without both Hester sisters on the TCU volleyball team.
Q: How big of an impact did Irene have on easing the transition from high school to college?
A: She made it easy because I would always come out and hang out with [the TCU volleyball players] so I knew the girls already. It couldn’t have been an easier transition.
Q: How did your bond as sisters help you on the court?
A: We just know each other so well. Any time either one of us was frustrated, we knew how to make each other laugh or shake it off. She knows how to approach me and I know how to approach her better than anyone else. When you have something like that it really helps, because when you’re frustrated it can make it go away.
Q: Irene was one of the main leaders on the team, do you feel pressure to fill that leadership void?
A: I don’t feel the pressure, it is more exciting for me to step into the senior leader role. It’s fun and it’s really about showing by example. With everyone back I am more than excited, I can’t even explain it. I just can’t wait to get playing.
Q: How have you embraced being a leader on this team?
A: Just leading by example is the main thing. Showing the newcomers what you need to do and making sure they’re not goofing off. They watch everything you do so you just have to make sure you lead by example.
Q: What can your team expect of you as a leader this season?
A: Excitement! I am really consistent and I work hard. I am working hard every day because it’s my senior year. I’m giving it my all.
Q: How are you adjusting to not playing on the same team as Irene?
A: Of course it is different, but I always joke with her, ‘it’s like you’re here, you’re up on the [gym wall] and I always look at you.’ We Skype still, and we have an application that lets us text for free.
Q: The team had two injuries at the end of last season, what did you learn from that?
A: This year we are definitely extra cautious. That’s our big thing this year, everyone needs to stay healthy. Stuff like that happens all the time. It’s crazy how it happens but it made us come together as a team.
Q: What are your goals for this season?
A: We want to make the [NCAA Championship] and either win conference or the conference tournament. You’ll be able to tell our first tournament that we are doing so well. Everyone is stepping up and I definitely have high expectations for us.