Kettle Run product Redmon to resume stellar volleyball career at Delaware St. next season
Brooke Redmon has led Delaware State in blocks over the past three seasons, but will use a medical redshirt in 2013 aftter shoulder surgery. --Courtesy photo
Cars parked in and around Fauquier County have looked dirtier than normal, as a whole, over the past five months.
Blame Brooke Redmon.
A 2010 Kettle Run High graduate, Redmon has two passions: playing volleyball and detailing cars. An injury has kept her from doing both since April.
Locally, Redmon hasn’t cleaned her friends’ cars since surgeons cleaned out her mangled right shoulder on April 12. In Dover, Del., the consequences have been worse. Redmon’s injury forced Delaware State to refurbish its starting lineup this volleyball season.
Over her three seasons as a starter for Delaware State, Redmon led the team in blocks as the Hornets’ middle hitter. As a senior, the 6-foot Redmon has been forced to use an medical redshirt after having surgery on her labrum, rotator cuff and posterior capsule.
The Hornets are 1-10 without her in 2013.
“It definitely always hurts when there’s not a seasoned veteran out there at a position that’s so vital,” DSU coach Kisya Killingsworth said. “But we’re very excited to have her back next year.”
Redmon’s excitement for 2014 is tempered by the loss of her true senior season.
She planned to graduate next spring after trying to help the Hornets post their first winning season since her freshman season in 2010. Instead, she has watched the Hornets struggle again — and often from a distance because she’s not on the travel team.
Redmon was quarantined on DSU campus while the Hornets traveled for eight of their first 11 matches. Plus, her team lost its two home matches.
“It’s kind of heartbreaking,” Redmon, 21, said. “It’s still hard to watch my team play and not be out there.”
Redmon felt shoulder pain since her freshman season. She initially tried to treat it using physical therapy and medications like steroids injections.
Then, this past spring, an MRI revealed that Redmon had a previously undiagnosed labrum tear. That’s when she decided to opt for surgery that would potentially cost her senior season.
“Volleyball is the biggest passion ever for me,” Redmon said. “I didn’t want my last time playing to be at 50 percent.”
Fifty-percent turned out to be an optimistic estimate. With Redmon under anesthesia, doctors discovered her rotator cuff and posterior capsule needed repair, in addition to her torn labrum.
“I didn’t know I had messed everything up in there,” she said. “I didn’t totally understand [the consequences] at first.”
Redmon hoped to return to full health in a month or two, but when she emerged from surgery, doctors estimated it would take four to six months due to the additional work done on her rotator cuff and posterior capsule. As October neared, Redmon’s health still hadn’t improved enough to resume normal volleyball activities.
That resulted in the decision to redshirt.
Redmon will still graduate this coming spring as a criminal justice major. Then she’ll return as a fifth-year senior and begin taking graduate courses at DSU.
“She’s kind of sad. She was kind of pumped up for her senior year,” Redmon’s mother, Karen, said. “We’re trying to support her in that she’s doing the right thing [by redshirting], but she said she really misses it.”
Danger in Dover
Redmon didn’t go looking for a way to tear her labrum.
She has, however, risked potential bodily harm by seeking out high-speed car chases, neighborhood gun fights, basketball court fist fights and even deaths.
An internship with the Dover Police Department provided all that action.
“It was amazing; so much fun,” Redmon said. “I learned about the underside of Dover.
"Everything they did, I did,” she said of the police officers.
That included seeing a man die on the scene of a call she responded to early in the internship during her junior year.
The internship was part of her criminal justice curriculum at Delaware State. She hopes to work for the United States Secret Service or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Redmon’s brother, Neil, is a 24-year-old correctional officer at a Prince William County jail. So his younger sister had some background information when she began the internship with Dover P.D.
Nevertheless, she felt nervous.
“There’s some bad neighborhoods,” Brooke Redmon said. “There were a few gun fights that we went to. Obviously, I didn’t get out [of the police car] during those, but it’s not the most comfortable feeling in the world.”
She preferred to have the police car en-route.
“It was a lot of fun going fast,” she said. “And the cops here are actually really fun to hang out with.”
That gave little comfort to Redmon’s mother, though.
“Some of the stuff she’s telling me,” Karen Redmon said, “I’m thinking, ‘Too much information. Stop telling me. I don’t want to know.’”
Attention to details
When Brooke Redmon makes the rounds at Heritage Hunt Golf & Country Club in Gainesville, sometimes she’s not playing golf.
Instead, she’s circulating through a client list of coworkers who want their cars detailed.
“I just like cleaning cars,” said Redmon, who works at Heritage Hunt when home in Virginia each summer. “I kind of have a passion for it.”
Redmon typically begins by washing the exterior of a car. Then she cleans the inside of the windows, vacuums the interior, shampoos the seats and floor mats, and cleans and dresses the tires and wheel wells. She’ll then wax the exterior, if requested.
Redmon gives the same treatment to her own car, a 2007 Toyota Rav4.
“Her car is spotless,” Karen Redmon said. “It’s kind of funny” as a hobby.
Unfortunately, detailing cars requires a functioning shoulder, which Redmon didn’t have after surgery. So she took a break from it. For a while, at least.
“That was one of the first things she got back into,” Karen Redmon said. “We’d ask her, ‘Are you sure you should be doing that already?’ ‘Oh, yeah, it’ll be fine,’” she’d say.
Brooke Redmon’s torn labrum has also kept her from swinging a golf club recently. She had never played the sport before beginning work at Heritage Hunt, but she learned to appreciate it.
At Heritage Hunt, Redmon’s official duties over the past few summers have ranged from working on the golf course to bar tending in the club.
Along with summer trips back to Virginia, Redmon also returned to her Warrenton home about once a month during the volleyball offseason.
That provides a nice break from living in Delaware.
“It’s been fun” in Dover, Redmon said. “It definitely took some getting used to being away from home, but I guess it’s like that wherever you are. It’s grown on me up here for sure."
Redmon's NCAA Division I volleyball career has also provided travel opportunities like road matches in New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia and North Carolina.
“We’ve definitely done some traveling to be part of the fan club,” Karen Redmon said or herself and her husband, Bill. “We’re going to miss watching her play this year. Hopefully she’ll have that fifth year and be better than ever.”
In 2003, Warrenton Middle School volleyball coach Gary Hicklin walked up to tall sixth-grade soccer player and handed her a volleyball.
Brooke Redmon uneasily accepted the sphere. That was her first step toward stardom as a volleyball player at Delaware State.
“I was totally into soccer. It was my main sport,” Redmon said of her youth. “He said, ‘You coming to [volleyball] tryouts?’ I was like, ‘No. What do you mean?’ He gave me volleyball and told me to go home and play with it.”
Redmon did. Then she showed up for Warrenton’s volleyball practice.
“Once I did, he sold me” on the sport, Redmon said.
She didn’t dominate immediately, though. Redmon had the natural build of an intimidating middle hitter, but it took time to develop into that ideal.
“She was born to play volleyball. She had height, athleticism and a long arm span designed for hitting,” Hicklin said. “During her early development [she] was not as dominant as I thought she could be.
“I was often tough on her; at times too tough,” he said. “Because I knew she could be the player she has become.”
Delaware State coach Kisya Killingsworth has little knowledge of the player Redmon has become. A first-year coach, Killingsworth has only seen the senior play on film prior to shoulder surgery.
“I watched video from last year and know what she’s capable of, and know that she’s going to come back even stronger,” Killingsworth said. “I expect a lot of her next year coming back on offense and even more on the defensive end as a blocker.”
Redmon has practiced with the Hornets this season, but she’s been relegated mostly to back-row duties. She hopes to soon begin swinging in the front row more often.
“We’re working on her footwork and refocusing on her hitting technique,” Killingsworth said. “Making sure she doesn’t reinjure her shoulder.”
“She’s been pushing that shoulder pretty hard for a long time,” Karen Redmon said. “She really had a lot of playing time” over her career.
After starting three seasons for Hicklin at Warrenton Middle School, Brooke Redmon made the Fauquier High varsity roster as a freshman and sophomore. Then, as a junior, Redmon transferred to Kettle Run when the school opened in 2008.
As a senior middle hitter at Kettle Run, she made the Group AA all-state second team and earned partial scholarship offers from the likes of Lock Haven University before opting for a full scholarship from Delaware State.
The Hornets put Redmon to work immediately. As a freshman, she came off the bench during the first game of Delaware’s season-opening match.
“I choked hardcore,” Redmon said. “I was a typical freshman and didn’t know what to do.
“When I first stepped on the court, first practice, I remember watching the girls and being overwhelmed. ‘Wow this is a lot different than high school,” Redmon said. “But once you get in the flow and get comfortable, you jump right in there.”
Redmon played in 26 of 30 matches that first season, starting many, and helped the Hornets post an 18-12 record. She finished third on the team with 57 blocks, second with a .257 attack percentage and sixth with 106 kills.
As a sophomore, Redmon started 18 of 25 matches and played in 22, finishing second on the team with 42 blocks and fifth with 89 kills. By her junior season, though, Redmon noticed that she had lost range of motion in her shoulder.
“I just figured, ‘It’s college, not high school. You’re playing more; working out more. It’s just wear and tear,’” said Redmon, who now believes she tore her labrum as a freshman or sophomore. “I kept playing, so it actually made it 10 times worse.”
Regardless, as a junior, Redmon started 22 of 26 sets and played in each of the Hornets’ 94 sets. She led Delaware State by a large margin with a .321 attack percentage, finished second with 56 blocks and was third with 150 kills.
At the end of last month, Redmon finally resumed upper body weight lifting as she tries to prepare her arm for hitting and blocking again.
“I kind of have to learn how to hit all over again,” she said. “I haven’t done it in so long, and I don’t want to do it the wrong way like I might have before, and [injure] it all over again.”
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The Redmon File
Family: Father Bill is a retired Fairfax County facility manager, mother Karen is a newspaper carrier for the Fauquier Times, brother Neil, 24, is a correction officer in Prince William County and a Radford University and Fauquier High graduate.
Favorite volleyball play: “I like to run back-slides a lot. It’s a lot different [for the] middle position, but it’s so easy to see the whole court and it’s so fast-paced you can actually catch the defense off guard.”
Favorite athlete: Soccer player Abby Wambach. “I like how humble she is, and her mentality, and how hard she works. She doesn’t let anything get to her.”
Favorite music artists: Zedd and Krewella. “I was into them before, but then I went to [Firefly Music Festival] over the summer and they were both there, and it was awesome.”
Favorite TV show: “Duck Dynasty.” “It’s so down to Earth, but they’re also really funny. The things that Si [Robertson] says, nobody would ever think of.”
Favorite movie: “Bridesmaids.” “It was so ridiculous that it was actually funny.”
Favorite food: “I like so much food, but I’m a pasta person.”
Favorite restaurant: Red Robin. “They’ve got some great burgers.”
Favorite sports team: Washington Redskins.
Favorite place to visit: “Anywhere with a nice beach.”
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