Kaitlyn Dunnigan on Balancing Being Both a Student and Athlete and, What’s to Come

Varsity Volleyball captain Kaitlyn Dunnigan has played for Tuscaroras volleyball team since 9th grade. However, with her final year approaching, where is Dunnigan planning on going, and how has she managed to balance both her athletics and academics?


By: Joey Hudson

Kaitlyn Dunnigan has been heavily involved with Tuscarora since she first entered the school. From being former Vice President, helping run the official @tuskyterror Instagram account for the class of 2022, to being a player for the Tuscarora Volleyball team, Dunnigan has become well known throughout the grade due to her involvement.

While Dunnigan has been involved with a variety of different extracurriculars at Tuscarora, volleyball has been something Dunnigan has carried with her and devoted herself to before even entering the doors of Tuscarora. “I have played competitive travel volleyball since 7th grade,” Dunnigan states, “It takes a lot of time off the court to be noticed in the recruiting process such as cutting up highlight film, emailing coaches and calling coaches, and practicing in extra training such as the weight room.”

Dunnigan also credits her sisters, Ashton Dunnigan and Meghan Dunnigan, who both also played competitive volleyball, as to why she also decided to pick up the sport. Dunnigan says that she witnessed her sisters not only develop as athletes, but also as people over time while they were playing volleyball, which continued to inspire Dunnigan to follow in their footsteps and participate in competitive volleyball.

After starting to play volleyball for Tuscarora, Dunnigan was able to compete alongside both of her sisters during her freshman year and then in sophomore year alongside Meghan. After both Ashton and Meghan graduated, Dunnigan took over the role of senior captain of the volleyball team. “It was shocking this year to have neither of them on the court with me and filling their shoes as the senior captain,” Dunnigan says, “It was something I always thought was so far ahead of me.” 

“Now, having completed all 4 years of Tuscarora Varsity Volleyball, I can thank them [Ashton and Meghan] for showing me the ropes and enabling me to be capable of roles I always looked up to as a younger player,” Dunnigan concludes.

For life after Tuscarora High School, Dunnigan has already committed herself to William & Mary and will be a part of their volleyball program, saying, “I am committed to William and Mary for volleyball. I decided on this college because I built a strong foundation with the coaching staff and players over the years I was being recruited there,” Dunnigan continues her reasons, stating, “I felt a lot of love from the program and there’s nothing like feeling wanted and important in a Division 1 athletics program.”

While one of the reasons Dunnigan has decided on going to William & Mary was for their athletics program, her reasons still go beyond sports and volleyball as Dunnigan also focused on the academic benefits that William & Mary will provide for her. “I have also always seen myself at a high academic university. Being surrounded by peers with similar drives and academic expectations is really motivating.” Dunnigan finishes it off stating that she’s looking forward to immersing herself in a setting that will be competitive both academically and athletically.

“I would say my strongest asset as a player is my communication and encouragement as a teammate.” Dunnigan emphasized when asked what she’ll bring to William & Mary’s athletics program. “To play Division 1 as a Libero, you need a certain personality to rally and hype your team as well as lead the team defensively. I am a loud and dominant player, these qualities will add hustle, energy, and perseverance to the program.”

Even though Dunnigan is focused on volleyball, she still balances her time to make sure she’s fulfilling her academic standards that are required for William & Mary. When asked, Dunnigan says that she manages to balance the two by planning out her weeks and days beforehand and divide both sports and school into separate chunks of available time she has throughout her week in order to complete assignments or go to practice for volleyball.

While Dunnigan is going to play competitive volleyball for William & Mary, Dunnigan isn’t sure what major she plans on pursuing, however, she has a few options in mind. “I would ideally major in mathematics, hopefully tailored towards engineering or computers, but I do not have a plan quite yet.”

Despite Dunnigan finishing her final season of volleyball at Tuscarora, her impact on the THS volleyball program is noticeable and we look forward to what she will bring and contribute to William & Mary.