TOWNSEND – Even though the Townsend Bulldogs will not be chasing a title at the state volleyball tournament this year, one of their seniors already won more than she could have hoped for this season.

“I don’t even know how many people could do what she’s done,” Townsend volleyball head coach Natalie Horne said.

And that’s the reaction Townsend’s Katana Srigley gets from a lot of people. This past season was the senior’s first back on the court after her battle with Burkitt’s lymphoma.

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“This time last year she was in the hospital, maybe, just the lightest she’s ever been, puking, just going through the fight of her life,” continued Horne, “and now she’s back behind me just playing the game that she loves. This is her second year of ever playing volleyball and she’s come leaps and bounds.”

But it wasn’t easy. The biggest challenge for the natural athlete wasn’t getting back in the gym, but getting out of her own way.

“It was definitely a struggle to push myself, but it wasn’t that hard,” said Srigley. “But mentally it was really hard to get back in because I lost so much. I had only played for a year and then I had to bring myself back and re-learn things. That was definitely a really hard part to not get frustrated with myself for not being able to keep up with things.”

“She is so strong, she is one of the strongest people I have ever met,” added her coach. “And she is just solid. She’s been the heart of our team since I’ve been a coach on and off the court. The girls look up to her tons and tons because of her leadership and her groundedness. She’s grateful to be playing again.”

And that’s because she can’t imagine doing anything else.

“My family and I moved around a lot when I was a kid, so I was never really a part of sports,” Srigley said. “Then sophomore year, first time I ever really touched a volleyball and I automatically loved it. I know what it’s like to sit there and not play and I couldn’t do it again, so I figured I might as well. Even if I came back and was on C-squad, I would have played. I just couldn’t sit there and watch again. I couldn’t not come back after all the support they gave me. It’s a big family.”