« Volleyball 2017

Kelsey Bittinger

School

Kent State

Position
Outside Hitter
Major
Applied Physics

Classroom

Kelsey Bittinger carries an impressive a 3.95 cumulative GPA and is set to graduate in Spring 2018 with a degree in applied physics. A member of Kent State’s Honors College, she has earned a spot on the President’s List (4.0 term GPA) in four semesters and was named to the Dean’s List in her other two semesters on campus. Bittinger was named a 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-American (KSU’s first since 1999) and is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District, two-time MAC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete, two-time Academic All-MAC and four-time MAC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Week honoree. She is also a three-time recipient of the team’s Golden Brain Award, which is given to the player with the highest GPA during the competition semester. The epitome of a student-athlete, Bittinger has taken honors courses including Art History and Cultural Anthropology to fulfill her desire of expanding her knowledge base.

Following graduation, Bittinger plans to pursue a post-graduate degree in medical physics. She spent this past summer as a radiation therapy intern at the Cleveland Clinic, where she assisted postdoctoral researchers and will be a listed author in a study that will hopefully be published. Bittinger also had the opportunity to familiarize herself with software used in the field, help with particle accelerator quality assurance and interact with patients during her internship.

Character

Bittinger epitomizes the ideal Kent State volleyball student-athlete in her approach to conducting herself on the court, in the classroom and in the community. A two-year member of the Golden Flashes’ leadership core, she earned the respect of her teammates and coaches almost immediately upon arriving on campus. During matches, she serves as the floor leader and player liaison between the coaches and officials. Her teammates describe her as a “role model,” “intelligent human being” and “good decision-maker.” They know that she is reliable and will get the job done when called upon. She brings a great level of energy to every team activity, and her teammates thrive off the emotion she displays after the Flashes score a big point in a match.

Her tremendous work ethic, determination, discipline and commitment to excellence have put Bittinger in position to be remembered as one of the greatest to take the court at Kent State. It is her intensity and passion for competing at a high level, however, that have been contagious and have played an integral part in the program’s ascent over the past four years. She is focused on excelling in everything she does, both on and off the court. During a preseason team bonding trip to a local fire station, her position group won both the mock fireman fitness test and fire hose push-of-war competitions.

Community

Bittinger has logged nearly 70 hours of community service during her time at Kent State. Each year, Bittinger and her teammates have visited a local assisted living center to play games with the residents (including the ever-popular flyswatter volleyball) and prepared and served hot meals at a local homeless shelter. The team’s annual “Dig Pink” match during Breast Cancer Awareness Month each October supports the fight against breast cancer. The Golden Flashes wear special pink jerseys for the match to honor those fighting the disease. Bittinger has also assisted with Habitat for Humanity projects during preseason camp heading into her sophomore and junior years. The volleyball team competes in the Jock Jams event, which is a music/entertainment competition between KSU athletics programs that raises money to be donated to a local elementary school. 

She also has contributed to several Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) projects, including a food drive that helped to restock the shelves at a local food pantry and a school supply drive that collected donations of new and gently used school supplies that were distributed to local schools. Bittinger has visited local elementary schools on multiple occasions. She has volunteered to assist with the Moving with the Flashes project, which is a day spent promoting various physical activities with the students, as well as National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

Competition

Bittinger is a two-time All-MAC First Team selection (2015, 2016) and has been a six-rotation player in all four of her seasons. She is one of just five Golden Flashes all-time to reach 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs, and the first to accomplish the feat prior to her senior season. Bittinger currently ranks fourth in KSU history in kills per set (3.28), fifth in kills (1,238) and eighth in digs (1,119) and digs per set (2.96). A four-time MAC East Offensive Division Player of the Week honoree, she ranked third in the conference in points per set and kills per set during both her sophomore and junior seasons, which led to being chosen for the Bring It Promotions’ U23 Midwest Team that captured bronze at the 2017 European Global Challenge in Pula, Croatia.

Joining the Flashes as one of the most heralded recruits in program history and as a member of a recruiting class expected to change the course of the program, Bittinger has more than lived up to the billing. She has led KSU to three-straight seasons with a .500 or better record for first time since 2000-02. As a sophomore in 2015, she helped guide the Flashes to their first MAC East Division title all-time and first 20-win season since 2007.

As of nomination time, she led the team in kills per set (3.74) and points per set (3.96) and was second on the team in digs per set (2.97).