Freshmen don’t usually play on varsity teams.
Kori (Reid) Stevenson wasn’t your typical freshman.
Stevenson started on the Napa High School volleyball team as a freshman in 1993. She led the Indians, who won the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title that year, in kills (155) and was named to the All-Napa County team.
She continued to have success going forward, starring for Napa as an all-around player.
“As a senior middle blocker and hitter, Kori had an offensive and defensive presence at the net that was unprecedented at Napa High School,” Barb Franco, Napa’s principal and former volleyball coach, wrote in a letter of recommendation for Stevenson.
“Kori was a joy to coach and I will always remember her for her passion, spunk, fierce defensive play, offensive hitting ability, caring about her teammates, and always, always being grateful and proud of Napa High.”
Stevenson excelled in volleyball. She was a four-time All-Napa County player and was a captain on Napa’s 1996 team that won CIF Sac-Joaquin Section and Northern California titles and finished as the state runner-up.
She played on Napa teams that were 56-0 in Monticello Empire League matches in her four years.
Later this month, Stevenson will be inducted into the Napa High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Stevenson, a 1997 graduate, and two members from the Class of 1999, Mandy Stephens and Matt Yourkin, were elected by a selection committee.
“This award is particularly meaningful for me because it not only honors my high school athletic achievements, but also the positive impact that I make in my community now as a mother, friend, and productive person in society,” Stevenson said. “That is something that is very valuable to me. I am truly honored to be included.”
This is the 18th year of the NHS Hall of Fame, which is made up of a combination of athletes, coaches and special category inductees. To date, there are 135 members of the Hall of Fame, whose membership dates back to 1912.
This year’s enshrinement dinner will be on Saturday, Oct. 25, at Embassy Suites.
The purpose of the NHS Athletic HOF Foundation is to honor the school and its athletics department by recognizing the achievements of former athletes, coaches and others who have made significant contributions to the school’s athletic programs.
The Hall of Fame’s selection committee votes on the nominees after reviewing the nominations and hearing presentations by nominators. A successful nominee needs 75 percent of the total points possible.
The inductees will be introduced on the field on Oct. 24, before Napa’s Monticello Empire League football game against Vacaville at Memorial Stadium.
“The years that I played at Napa High were an important part of my development as an athlete and as a person,” said Stevenson. “I was blessed to have coaches who taught me how to persevere in high pressure situations, the importance of sportsmanship, and that no matter how tired you are that you don’t quit.
“Champions, in my opinion, aren’t just born that way. They are taught by people who know how to lead. I was fortunate enough to have coaches who were great leaders that taught by example.”
Stevenson also played soccer and basketball. But volleyball was her game, first and foremost.
She was a three-time All-MEL player and was Napa’s team MVP on the 1996 team that finished second in the state, going 34-2.
“There are so many memories that stand out, both on the court and off,” said Stevenson. “My senior year was particularly special. All of us knew that we were part of an experience that would last us a lifetime. It was a dream team.
“When we went to the state championships in the fall of 1996, we were the first team in Napa High’s history, in any sport, to compete at that level.
“The women who were on that team are still my friends today. We were a part of something magical, and I am so grateful.”
Stevenson said her strongest skills were with blocking and hitting as a front-row player.
“Nobody stands out on a team if they don’t have teammates that can support them,” she said.
Stevenson played volleyball at Dominican University of California. She was a front-row player and made All-Conference.
Asked about the kind of emotions she has about returning to Napa and going into the Hall of Fame, Stevenson said, “Nothing but gratitude. I am looking forward to seeing my family, my friends, and my old teammates. It is a great honor to represent Napa High.”
Stevenson and her husband, David, make their home in Mill Valley with their two children, Katie (8) and Jack (5).
David Stevenson played water polo for four years for Ohio State. Previous to that, he was a champion swimmer in his hometown of Lancaster, Ohio.
After graduating from Ohio State, he went on to graduate with his MBA from the University of Chicago with honors.
A no-host cocktail reception will start at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m. Reservations can be made by mailing the Napa High Athletic Hall of Fame Foundation office at 1880 Sutter Court, Napa, CA 94559, emailing email@example.com, or calling 226-5090.
Reservations and payment for the tickets are due by Oct. 17.
The Napa High Athletic Hall of Fame Foundation’s mailing address is 1880 Sutter Court, Napa, CA 94559.
The cost of the dinner is $60 per person and the purchase of a dinner ticket entitles the buyer to be included on the foundation’s mailing list and have voting rights through 2014 to elect foundation board members.
It’s $20 for those age 12 and under.