The Daily Pennsylvanian asked Penn volleyball's Kacie Burton 15 questions about her sport, her time at Penn, and life overall. Here's what the senior had to say.
1. Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Kacie Burton. I’m a senior on the volleyball team, and I’m from just outside of Cleveland, Ohio.
2. How did you spend your summer?
I spent my summer living in Philadelphia. I was working for Instacart and also doing some research for Penn faculty.
3. Did you try any hobbies or watch anything new during quarantine? If so, what did you try?
I have been trying new recipes for cooking, which has been exciting because traditionally, I have been a very terrible cook.
4. How long have you been playing volleyball? and 5. What made you start playing?
I started playing volleyball in the fourth grade. I started on the CYO team, which is like a Catholic youth league. I started playing because my older sister was playing, and I wanted to try something new. I come from a family of swimmers, so we had tried to swim and didn’t really like it, so we wanted to try a different sport. I ended up falling in love with volleyball, and eventually it brought me here.
6. What position do you play, and what’s your favorite part about it?
I play the position of setter. I think my favorite part about being a setter is having to balance all of the offensive strategies and actual execution of your skills. I like having that role on the team, being able to create new offensive strategies. It can be kind of stressful, but once I got the hang of it, I ended up really enjoying it, and I think it’s developed a lot of skills in my toolbox.
7. What has your experience been playing volleyball at Penn?
It’s definitely been a very formative experience. I’ve learned a lot. I think I’ve grown a lot. I’ve made some of the best friends that I’ve ever had.
8. What’s your favorite sports memory with your teammates from your time here?
I like to look back on all the times that I’ve spent with the girls in my class. The senior class of Penn volleyball is really special to me. We’re all really close. We’re all really good friends. All the times that we’ve been able to hang out together, as a group, as we’ve grown older. We’re seniors now and we all have our own schedule, so it’s a rarity for us all to be in a group together just by ourselves hanging out, so whenever those moments happen, it’s really special.
9. How has it been transitioning into online school?
The transition has been definitely difficult. Obviously everyone is just trying to do their best. Professors are trying to adapt their platform. Students are trying to adjust to learning differently. So it’s definitely been a difficult process, I’d say, but I’m managing, and, fortunately, I have really nice professors. They’re all very understanding. I think while we’re missing the dynamic of in-person learning, there’s definitely still that aspect of achieving an Ivy League education, so I’m grateful for that.
10. As an athlete, what do you think are the biggest challenges in training during a remote semester?
Stamina. You’re trying to balance school work and trying to balance academics and athletics. You’re trying to get all your work done in between practice, and volleyball traditionally has a shorter season than other sports, so I can’t speak for them, but it just is a matter of staying at that top level for the entire season. That’s something that definitely is a challenge and something that you have to overcome as a student-athlete.
11. What was your reaction to your senior season being canceled this fall?
It was pretty disappointing to have senior year sort of canceled. There’s still obviously hope for the spring season. Even if that’s in a limited capacity, it would still be really nice to have. I was really looking forward to all the fun things you get to do your senior season on an athletics team, but it’s for the best. The University made the decision that was best for public health and best for the students. I’m definitely disappointed, but I understand that it’s bigger than me, and I’m looking forward to maybe playing in the spring.
12. What do you like to do for fun or to relax?
To relax I like to bake a little bit. I like to take walks. I really like exploring the city, finding new food places. I’m a big fan of South Philadelphia and all the eateries there and all of the little shopping consumer districts.
13. What’s your favorite place to study on campus?
I love to study in the Penn Museum’s library. Since I’m an anthropology major, the department is housed within the Penn Museum so I’m there a lot anyway. The library is just a great place to focus, to be surrounded by a lot of history and a lot of knowledge.
14. What are your plans after graduation?
Right now I’m trying to find a job. I’m hoping to be able to stay on the East Coast and end up working full time. I’m not sure where I’m going to be yet, but we’re looking out.
15. What’s something that you wish someone told you as a freshman?
Hold on to your friends. There are some really difficult times and some really great times and having people there to celebrate with or to struggle with can be really helpful. So, find great friends, and hold on to them.
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