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Kristin Lux has followed a family tradition of athletes in her family.

Her father, Dean, played basketball at Midland Lutheran College (now Midland University) while an aunt, Susan Lux, also competed in athletics at MLC.

Kristin, a graduate of North Bend Central, can't remember a time when sports weren't a part of her life.

"A couple of years ago I was playing basketball and my sister asked my mom (Karen) why I was so coordinated," Lux recalls. "My mom said that as a kid I was always messing with some sort of ball or game. I never fell away from it. I was always doing something in sports."

Lux, a three-sport standout for the Tigers, is the 2018 Fremont Tribune Female Athlete of the Year. The West Virginia volleyball recruit was the captain of the newspaper's All-Area Team. She also earned All-Area honors in basketball and was the Class C state champion in the high jump.

Lux likely could've competed in college in any of the three sports, but she was dominant in volleyball.

The 6-foot-1 senior set a single-season kills record with 434 as a senior. She also finished as the career leads in kills (1,213) and holds the school's all-time record for ace serves and ace blocks.

“Kristin is a go-to player and a natural at volleyball,” North Bend coach Amy Sterup said. “She works hard on the court for her team. ... I just liked watching her play."

Lux said she was in junior high or a freshman in high school when she knew volleyball was going to be her main sport.

"I think you can always love something, but it takes age and experience to realize the true value of it," she said. "It was around that time that I knew that was what I wanted to do."

Lux competed for the Heartland Volleyball Club in Fremont before competing the past five years for the Nebraska Juniors. The club experience -- along with competing with the Tigers -- helped her grow as a player.

"It helps with your volleyball IQ," she said. "When you get to high school, it is not quite as fast paced so you know what is going on and it helps a lot because you know where to go. You can kind of expect what is going to happen because you have been playing for so long."

Lux helped North Bend qualify for the state volleyball tournament for the first time in 19 years in 2016. A talented senior class that included Midland University recruit Brooke Fredrickson, helped the Tigers return to state last fall.

The Tigers won their opening-round match against Malcolm before losing to eventual state champion Wahoo High. North Bend finished fourth in the tournament.

"There was some disappointment there just because we knew we were capable of getting the championship or finishing second or third," Lux said. "But we're definitely proud to make it to state two years in a row. Not many teams can say they got fourth and got to compete that long in the state tournament."

In the spring of 2017, Lux was competing in a club tournament when she collided with her setter. The collision caused Lux's humerus bone in her left arm to snap right above the elbow. The injury caused her to miss the rest of the club season and all but one meet of her junior season of track.

"It wasn't only a physical thing, but it hurt me mentally because I was kind of hesitant," she said. "Volleyball was the thing I loved, but I was a little scared to play again."

Any athlete that has had a serious injury like an ACL tear or a broken bone can relate to Lux's trepidation. Her physician, however, provided encouraging words of support.

"My doctor cleared me and told me I was fine," Lux said. "He told me I wasn't going to hurt myself again. I knew I had to just go out and do it. I was never going to grow out of the fear if I didn't."

Lux didn't display any lingering effects from the injury this season. She also got to compete in her final prep season knowing where she was going to play in college.

As a freshman, Lux received a generic recruiting letter from the University of Nebraska. She received more recruiting interest from various schools as a sophomore and then it picked up more as a junior.

Among the schools interested in her as a sophomore were the Mountaineers. She committed to West Virginia in early May of 2017.

"I liked the family environment and everything was just so beautiful out there," Lux said. "I had a feeling in my heart that if I went there, I would be OK. I loved the coaches, my teammates and the atmosphere."

Nebraska had displayed interested in having Lux join the Huskers as a walk-on. Kansas State, Iowa and South Dakota were also interested as was another perennial national power.

"Penn State showed some interest shortly after I had committed," Lux said.

Karen Lux works as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines so the family will be able to travel to many of Kristin's matches.

"That means a lot to me because my family has always been so supportive," she said. "My dad was always there to talk to if I had a bad game or a good game. It would be difficult without them. They've been at all of my games I've played throughout the years."

That includes basketball.

Lux led the Tigers to an 18-5 record. Their season came to an end with a 33-29 loss to eventual Class C-1 state champion Columbus Scotus in the C1-7 subdistrict tournament.

Lux averaged 11.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.7 assists per game.

"She was a four-year starter and we won at least 17 games the last three years with her,” North Bend coach Aaron Sterup told the Tribune in March.

"Basketball was a lot like volleyball," Lux said. "We were proud of the things we accomplished, but we knew we were capable of going further, like beating Scotus in the district game. I still think, though, that we accomplished more than a lot of people expected us to."

Lux had finished sixth in the Class high jump as a sophomore. The broken arm sidelined her for the track season in 2017, but she rebounded by winning a gold medal last month.

She recalls her first jump in practice this season. Coach Jeff Voss was watching.

"He was like, 'Oh, she didn't forget anything,'" Lux said. "He said it was just like riding a bicycle."

Winning a championship after missing about the whole season was gratifying.

"It was amazing," Lux said. "Being out all of last year, I couldn't prove myself. I was unable to compete so coming back a year later and doing that was pretty great."

Lux is grateful for the help she received from the various North Bend coaches during her career. She leaves the Tigers with nothing but great memories.

"When we went somewhere, we always went there as a team," she said. "We always tried to be the most respectful to the coaches, the players and the referees. We were always so close and we knew it wasn't about us. It was about our school and our community. You don't find that too often anymore. For our school to have that was pretty neat."

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