Thrill of the title ‘Hunt’

SISTER ACT: Alexis Huntey (pictured) and Ashley Huntey both experienced state championships during their senior season at Morley Stanwood. (Pioneer photo/Bob Allan)

Huntey sisters reflect on a memorable fall

MORLEY — Ashley Huntey sat in a hotel room on Saturday in Hillsdale, typing a text message to her sister, Alexis, who had just won the Class C state championship along with her Morley Stanwood teammates.

Under normal circumstances, Ashley would have been at Kellogg Arena cheering her younger sister on as the Mohawks won their second state title in school history. Ashley, however, was getting ready to play her last volleyball match for Ferris State during the NCAA Division II Midwest regional against Indianapolis, forcing her to watch her younger sister’s big moment on TV.

That’s the way its’ been for both Ashley, a senior for the Bulldogs, and Alexis, a senior at Morley Stanwood, in what has been an unforgettable season for both.

“I just told her to enjoy every moment and to never forget it,” Ashley said, referring to the text.

Alexis Huntey said her sister gave advice about what it took to be a state champion, but was more of a comforting presence in helping her realize that her senior year was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“She pretty much told me that every game could be my last, so I should play my heart out and leave it all on the floor,” she said. “She played a lot on conflicting days, so it was kind of disappointing that I wasn’t able to see more games, but at the same time, she played close to home so I was able to make it to some games.”

It was good advice, not only coming from an older sister, but from someone who played an instrumental role in the Mohawks’ first state title team in 2007.

Ashley Huntey said she didn’t want to come off as overbearing or put too much pressure on Alexis during her team’s state title run. Instead, she tried to offer encouragement and perspective during their daily phone conversations and interaction.

STRONG SEASON: Ashley Huntey was part of the first Ferris State volleyball team since 1996 to win a conference crown. (Courtesy photo)

“We talk on a daily basis,” Ashley Huntey said. “I wasn’t necessarily giving advice, but just offering her good luck and telling her to play her heart out. I got to make it to a few of her games, including the district (title) game.”

Alexis got a taste of what winning a state title was like as an eighth-grader at Morley Stanwood, watching her sister bring home the title.

That motivated her even more to leave a lasting impression on the Mohawks’ program.

“It’s definitely special,” she said. “I got to see not only what an honor it is to win (a state title), but how hard it is to even get there. I think that motivated me even more.”

In the meantime, Ashley and the Ferris State volleyball team was busy capturing its first conference title since 1996, while hosting the GLIAC tournament and making an appearance in the NCAA regional, all while earning all conference and all region accolades.

With her career at Ferris coming to a close on the same day her sister’s ended for the Mohawks’ volleyball team, Ashley Huntey said the season will always be a memorable one because she shared it with her sister.

“(Alexis) posted something on Facebook about me being her role model recently,” Ashley Huntey said. “When she posted that it really hit me hard, even though she didn’t say it to me. It’s something I’ll never forget — that we’re a part of the only two state championship teams in school history. I think it will help our bond as sisters grow even more.”

The last few months for the Huntey family have been busy, even overwhelming at times, father Clark Huntey said.

Clark said he and his wife, Chris, did their best to work out a schedule to make sure they were attending both of their daughters’ games throughout the season. In addition to being a principal and athletic director at Morley Stanwood Community Schools, Clark also was busy coaching the Mohawks’ football team to a 10-2 record on Fridays, making it difficult to get to a number of Ashley’s games.

“Typically my wife would go to Ashley’s games on Friday because I had to coach,” he said. “Then on Saturdays we’d switch, and I would go to Ashley’s games as much as possible because I didn’t get to see her as much.”

Luckily for both Clark and Chris, the schedule favored them during a busy Saturday.

After watching Alexis and Morley Stanwood capture the state title in the afternoon, they were only an hour drive away from watching Ashley and the Bulldogs play against Indianapolis in the regional semifinal in the early evening.

It has equated to some long weekends for the family, Clark Huntey said, both in traveling and in devoting time to watching tournaments that often went the entire day. It has all been worth it, though.

“It’s tough to put into words,” Clark Huntey said. “They’ve both had success since they started in athletics. They’re both driven to succeed in whatever they do. Fortunately, it paid off for both of them this year, with both being a part of state championship teams.”

Leave a Reply