Kalee Wiltfong hasn’t had to worry about what kind of support she would receive from her family when she chose to sign on with Concordia University volleyball. With Kalee and her teammates making history this week at the NAIA Volleyball National Championship, her brother and sister-in-law were both in the crowd to cheer her on.
It just so happens that her brother Riley Wiltfong and Riley’s wife Taylor (Roby) were also key members of Bulldog teams in the very recent past. Riley slung the football as a starting quarterback while Taylor earned a starting role as a defender for GPAC championship women’s soccer teams. Both have enjoyed the opportunity to see Kalee in action throughout her freshman season.
“It’s been a blast,” Riley said at the volleyball national tournament. “It gives us a reason to come back on campus. It’s been awesome to see what Ben and Angie have done with the program.”
In terms of her play on the court, Kalee has rarely looked like a freshman. She collaborated on eight blocks in Concordia’s first-ever win at the national tournament, which came over No. 19 Montana Tech on Tuesday (Dec. 3). Coaches Ben and Angie Boldt could tell early on that Kalee would be able to make an immediate impact. A product of Doniphan-Trumbull High School, Kalee hits the ball … hard.
Earlier this season, Kalee was jokingly whether Riley could hit a volleyball like she can. Said Kalee, “I’m going to say, no because I’m going to say I’m better than him. But he can definitely throw (a football) farther than me.”
Of course Kalee made her own decision to attend Concordia, but she may have been nudged at least a little bit by Riley and Taylor.
Said Taylor, “This summer I talked to her a lot because she wanted a girl’s perspective. I just told her about what Concordia’s meant to me both academically and athletically and just the family feel you have here. We were all crossing our fingers hoping she would go here. We’re excited to see her at Concordia wearing Bulldog blue.”
Added Riley, “I don’t know how much influence I had, but I told her about the cool experience I had and the people that I met. That’s what really made my experience at Concordia. It felt like a brotherhood on the football team and I’m sure she would say the same with it being a sisterhood on the volleyball team.”
Riley has been a regular at Walz Arena this season while having a first-hand look at one of the top volleyball teams in program history. As a younger, Kalee often watched Riley and her other brother Carson play sports. Now the tables have turned. All eyes lately have been on Kalee, the daughter of Scott and Brenda Wiltfong.
“She earned her stripes going to my games and my brother’s games when she was younger,” Riley said. “It’s fun to be on the fan side and focus on her athletic career. We’re having fun coming to these games. It’s going to be a 9:45 start (on Tuesday) and it’s going to be awesome.”
Riley has been there for Kalee if she needed any insight on what life as a Concordia Bulldog athlete would be like. Kalee has always been able to excel both academically (class valedictorian at Doniphan-Trumbull) and athletically. So far the transition to college student-athlete seems to have been a smooth one.
“I said it would be a little bit different,” Riley said of his conversations with Kalee. “The workload’s a little bit different. When you’re at the college level you’re focused more on one sport. That’s when you really focus on the sport you love. She was excited to get to this level.”