You hear the sound of the volleyball smacking down on the opponent's side of the court. It is a sound you cannot forget and one you will want to chase forever.
Dionna Kirton's love for volleyball started in the 7th grade. Before playing volleyball, Kirton was a basketball player. Basketball was a beloved family sport, but Kirton decided to break the mold and tried Volleyball. Kirton continued to play volleyball throughout her time at Kings High School and gained enough skill to pursue her love for the sport on the collegiate level.
Kirton attended the University of Hartford, in West Hartford Connecticut. "I was looking for a place to play volleyball, and went on an official visit," she said.
She had to decide between Hawaii Pacific University and the University of Hartford. However, when she arrived at Hartford in the fall for an official visit, she immediately fell in love with the school. It was a smaller school, and Kirton instantly connected with the girls on the team, so she knew that she could see herself playing here.
Playing college sports was not an easy task. Kirton faced many obstacles. As she has a very close relationship with her family, moving from Seattle to Connecticut was difficult. Her family was supportive and encouraging through her endeavors.
"My parents didn't play volleyball," Kirton said, "but my mom got really into learning about the game. It was fun to learn together. My dad thought it was both exciting and intense."
However, tragedy struck her family when her brother passed away in the summer between her sophomore and junior year at Hartford. She faced the decision of whether to leave school and come home or stay and finish at Hartford. After deliberation, she decided to return to school, because she had built such a reliable support system on the team and wanted to finish what she had started.
Kirton's training schedule was packed. Three days a week, she would lift weights at 5:15 a.m. She would then go to class in the mornings and afternoons and practice with her team in the late afternoons for roughly four hours a day. During the off-season, Kirton regularly attended physical therapy and focused on self-care. Self-care involved staying in shape and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Kirton strives to set a good example for her younger sisters. "My parents are fiercely competitive," Kirton said. "I want to set an example to continue to be competitive."
Kirton also sets an example as a coach for the Seattle Academy Girls Varsity Volleyball Team. She brings her knowledge of the game and her fierce competitiveness to the girls on the team.