Kelsi Martin’s idea of a girls night doesn’t fit the stereotype of most college kids.

Kelsi Martin’s idea of a girls night doesn’t fit the stereotype of most college kids.

Martin, a Blue Springs South High Schol graduate and standout on the Graceland University volleyball team, recently won the A.O. Duer Award, completing a year in which she maintained a 4.0 grade-point average and led the Yellowjackets to a second-place conference finish.

So how does she manage that jam-packed schedule?

“A lot of late nights. I have a lot of friends who are in the same classes so when we have a girls night,” said Martin, a sophomore, “we all bring out books and do homework.”

That might not sound very exciting, but it works for Martin, who has become a rock-solid starter as a setter and right-side hitter for the Yellowjackets.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I got to Graceland,” said Martin, who was named a captain on the volleyball team her sophomore year. “I knew the competition would be better than it was in high school, but I had no idea if I would start or even make the team.

“And now, after playing two years, I still feel the same way. I feel like I have to work hard to make the team again next year as a junior. But I think that makes me a better player, because I’m always going to be working on my game, trying to get better.”

The Duer Award is given to a male and female athlete who best represent their school on the playing field, in the classroom and in the community. The award, which is basically for the top scholar-athlete, spans the entire NAIA. The winner must have at least a 3.75 grade point average.

Martin was nominated by Graceland, and she advanced to the national round after winning the Heart of America Athletic Conference award.

“I couldn’t believe I won the conference award, let alone the national award,” Martin said. “It’s pretty special to win something like that when you’re a sophomore.”

But the honors don’t stop there. She was named the Heart of America Champions of Character Award winner, she was all-conference last season and was named the Setter of the Week three times her freshman year.

“It’s all pretty amazing,” Martin said of her start at the school in Lamoni, Iowa. “When I visited Graceland, I really felt at home, real comfortable. I like the small-town setting and the small classes. I feel like I know just about everyone at the school. And the volleyball has been great.

“We had a good freshman year and last year we were second in our conference. And I think we’re going to be good again next year. It’s just been an amazing two years.”

Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC