CLASS Act, On and Off the Court

Aug. 10, 2011

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa senior Mallory Husz has earned a handful of honors in her volleyball career, but 2011 represents her first shot at the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.

Presented each year to an outstanding Division I student-athlete, the Senior CLASS Award — Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School — honors the great achievements seniors display in the community and during competition. Husz has been an ace at both.

In her first three seasons in Iowa City, she doubled her offensive numbers every year while stockpiling conference and all-tournament honors. Off the court, she spearheaded a fundraiser with Gamma Phi Betta and the Johnson County Pork Producers to raise money for Heart Connections, a program that supports an Iowa summer camp devoted exclusively to children with cancer.

“Giving back is a privilege,” said Husz. “As an Iowa student-athlete, I understand I’m in position to make positive contributions to the community, and I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to give back and make a positive impact on people’s lives. We’re given so much, and it’s a lot fun to be able to give back.”

A two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Husz began the final chapter of her playing career Tuesday in the new practice facility at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes will train twice daily for two weeks at the new facility.

Mallory Husz recorded 237 kills in 2010.

The practice environment is new to all, but the expectations are particularly new to Husz. This is the first time in her four-year career she enters training camp as Iowa’s top offensive and defensive threat. The middle blocker from Council Bluffs, Iowa, ranked second in both kills and blocks last season, trailing only graduated senior Becky Walters, but she doesn’t equate last year’s performance to additional pressure.

“I’m just excited to start the season,” said Husz. “It’s been a great three years leading up to this point. I’ve enjoyed the journey, and I think I’m ready to give it my all one last season and put it all on the line.”

Those great three years have also taken a toll on Husz’ body. In 2010, she stockpiled impressive numbers while battling a shoulder injury that forced her to miss limited time. She had surgery following the season to repair three tears in her right shoulder. The rehab forced her to miss spring ball, so a return to the court this week signified a big step towards recovery.

“I’ve rehabbed for six months now,” said Husz, “and I’ve done 100-percent of the recovery stuff that I can do, so now I’m excited to get on the court and play. I just want to have a good season. I want to have fun this season, and I want to help this team win.”

As Husz navigates her final season through a new-look Big Ten Conference, she’ll unknowingly be campaigning for support from volleyball coaches, fans and media members. The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winners are determined by a selection process that includes the volleyball community. The voting process determines the overall winner in addition to the Senior CLASS All-America Team. Public fan voting on the award’s website will take place one month leading up to the NCAA Volleyball Championships Dec. 15.

Until then, Husz is determined to simply enjoy her final ride.

“I’m really just looking forward to one great final season,” she said. “I’m excited to travel to all of the Big Ten schools one last time. It’s going to be bittersweet when we get there, but I’m excited to be able to look back and know what I’ve accomplished.”