Athlete of the Week: NMB’s Chestnut racking up awards

With the awards rolling in for North Myrtle Beach volleyball standout Marci Chestnut, the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week is quick to point out that her work isn’t done.

Chestnut, who won a state championship with the Lady Chiefs last year, was named the 2013 Region Player of the Year and, the co-most outstanding player of the region tournament, and is an all-state and North-South all-star selection.

But in addition to keeping her team in the hunt for another state title, Chestnut hopes to continue playing the sport at the next level. “I’m not done yet,” she said. “I’m trying to work to get a scholarship in volleyball.”

Chestnut.has received preliminary interest from smaller schools in Georgia and Massachusetts, but the recruiting process has just begun. “Usually the coaches focus on you during the playoffs when we get deeper, and then at the all-star game and when we play in club tournaments,” said Chestnut.

First-year Lady Chiefs head coach Erica Allman, the Region Coach of the Year who is fresh off a successful college career at Columbia College, believes Chestnut has what it takes to play at the next level.

“Marci is a special player,” Allman said. “She has improved so much in so little time in her volleyball career. Last year was her first year playing club ball in the offseason, since she has been a two-sport athlete, playing basketball and volleyball. Her growth in just a year’s time is unbelievable. She’s one of the hardest working players on the team. Everything is 110 percent with her.”

Although Chestnut excels in both sports, it’s volleyball that has stolen her heart, “I’ve been playing basketball longer, but when I started playing volleyball, I really fell in love with it and realized that I really wanted to focus on it. I like the thrill of the kill. Anytime my teammates or I get a kill, it feels really good.”

The state’s top-ranked, defending state champions place a heavy emphasis on teamwork according to Chestnut, “My team is my family. We support each other through everything. Our goal is to win states again and we are working everyday to achieve that goal.”

Chestnut’s mother, Margo, was a two-sport performer at North Myrtle Beach in the early 1980’s. “I thought Marci would follow her mom and my love of basketball, but she really loves volleyball. We just support her in whatever she does,” she said.

The Lady Chiefs are on their way toward achieving that goal of a state title repeat, easily defeating Marlboro County in the second round Thursday night. Once that goal is reached, Chestnut hopes to achieve her individual goal of playing college ball.

“Even when I get accepted to college and play volleyball, my work isn’t done until I’m through with school,” Chestnut said.

If her dedication and performance are any indication, Chestnut is well on her way toward adding an  athletic scholarship to her long list of accolades.

Photo by Digital Magic Photo

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