Swinging into success: Hayfield’s Rutledge and Streightiff have shined on the volleyball court

Published 7:01 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2020

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HAYFIELD — A pair of Hayfield grads are far from one dimensional, but they have locked their talents into one arena, pushing them to the peak of their potential in a sport they have both grown to love.

Carrie Rutledge and Maggie Streightiff have grown into big time hitters on the college volleyball scene and their roots are forged in versatility from their time as three-sport athletes for the Vikings.

When they wore the blue and gold, Rutledge and Streightiff played in section title games in volleyball and basketball and they played in four state softball tournaments. Now they’re focused on volleyball and they have already done some big things at the college level.

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“Competing in three sports taught me to be dedicated and to push through,” Rutledge said. “Sometimes you go from one sport to the next and it definitely showed me that I can push myself to the limit and I can do just about anything I put my mind to.”

Rutledge, who will play volleyball at Division III University of Saint Thomas in the Twin Cities, this fall, was a first team NJCAA All-American in both of her seasons at Rochester Community and Technical College. This past season, she lead the nation with 4.97 kills per set and was second in total kills with 572. RCTC finished with a record of 31-4 overall as the Yellowjackets took fourth in the NJCAA Divison III National Tournament. The Tommies finished 30-5 overall last season.

After playing in just six matches in her first year of college volleyball, Streightiff is coming off a breakout sophomore season at Division II Upper Iowa, where she racked up 260 kills and 38 blocks for the Peacocks, who finished 21-9 overall and knocked off No. 1 seeded Northern State University in the Northern Sun Conference Tournament.

From left, Hayfield grads Carrie Rutledge and Maggie Streightiff took a swing at their old playground in Hayfield Tuesday. The duo have stepped up on the college volleyball scene in each of the past two seasons. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Streightiff stayed committed on the court and in the offseason,even after playing a back-up role in her first season with the Peacocks. Now she is ready to step up as a leader for a program on the rise.

“Coming in, I kind of expected (to not play much) and I knew I would have to work my way up to get there. I had to be patient. It was a lot of hard work and I had to trust the process that all of that work was going to pay off,” Streightiff said.

Upper Iowa head volleyball coach Aaron Nelson has seen Streightiff grow as a player ever since she arrived on campus.

“Maggie brings a pool  of energy to our team each day off which we all draw at some point. She has an innate ability to disarm you with her sense of humor and her consistent positivity. She is one of the hardest workers on and off the floor as well and is a great leader by example at all times,” Nelson said. “We cannot be happier with what Maggie has brought to our group and the university as a whole. We feel fortunate to have her as part of our family and we are looking forward to seeing more great things from her the next two years.”

With team activities on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Streightiff and Rutledge have stayed self motivated, working out and doing drills to stay ready for the upcoming season. Streightiff’s team has even found ways to do two-hour virtual practices together online.

If things open up, Streightiff and Rutledge are planning on playing together on a summer volleyball team.

Either way, they will remain connected from their time together with the Vikings.

Rutledge drew plenty of Hayfield fans when she played for RCTC and Streightiff even saw some blue and gold when she was playing home games in Fayette, Iowa, which is a two hour drive from Hayfield.

“I am so grateful for growing up in this community,” Rutledge said. “They stuck behind us in every single sport and even when I went to RCTC, I still had supporters come in and watch me.”