Each Wednesday, Prep Rally uncovers the story behind the most remarkable standards in high school sports for our Unbroken Records series. This week: A little help.
Alabama appears to be the breeding ground for the nation's best prep volleyball setters. Earlier this fall, Daphne (Ala.) Bayside Academy senior Sydney Chandler surpassed fellow Yellowhammer State product Chelsea Wintzinger as the country's career assists leader.
And nobody else has ever come close.
Chandler's 6,215 assists over the past four years edged Wintzinger's 6,102 at Huntsville (Ala.) High from 2006-09. Thrown in her eighth-grade season, and the Bayside Academy senior setter concludes her career with an astounding 7,355 assists.
Outside of Chandler and Wintzinger, who recently moved into fourth on Auburn's career assists list, no other prep volleyball player has amassed more than 6,000 assists, according to the National Federation of High School Associations.
Only two other student-athletes have cracked 5,000 assists -- Michigan products Lindi Bankowski (5,760) and Lindsey Rees (5,364) each did so last decade -- and the rest of the top 10 falls some 1,200 assists shy of Chandler's new standard.
Of course, all 12 prep standouts listed on the NFHS career assists list benefited from competing in states that play upwards of 70 matches per season (Bayside finished 57-8 this past fall) -- more than triple the amount of contests as some states. And Chandler, an A student, is no dummy, so she keeps the whole record in perspective. Via al.com:
"Breaking the national record came as a complete surprise to me," said Chandler. "I had no idea that I was close enough in assists to do that. As a child growing up, wanting to break any kind of record would seem so far fetched in my mind but as I grew older, I realized that if I kept working harder and pushing myself, then I could achieve that accomplishment. Breaking the record required a bunch of playing time and practice. Starting as an eighth grader and playing about 60-65 (matches) each season allowed me to break it."
Chandler leaves Bayside with five state titles, serving as an Admirals captain since eighth grade. The powerhouse program has won state records of 12 straight and 22 overall.
So, colleges must be knocking down her door, right? Wrong. The 5-foot-6 senior has only received offers from Division II and NAIA schools, according to MaxPreps. Naturally, she's realistic about that, too.
"My weakness is my lack of height," she told the website. "It won't get me many opportunities. Other than that, I'm pretty strong all around."
Regardless, her name appears safe atop the national prep record books -- until perhaps the next great Alabama setter comes through the ranks.
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