Addison Hultgren

Huntley Project's Addy Hultgren sets the ball against Shepherd in a recent match. The senior ranks third for career assists for the Red Devils. 

WORDEN — There are all kinds of numbers to help describe Addy Hultgren.

First, for Hultgren the student.

Four: The number of dissection classes she has taken at Huntley Project High School. “I love learning about the human body,” said Hultgren, who is thinking of doing something in the medical field for her future. “Just to see how it works all together … the neurological system to the muscular system.”

Two: College classes — sociology and statistics — she is taking online.

4.0: Her current GPA putting her on track to be 2020 class valedictorian. “I think I can hold it through my senior year,” Hultgren said with her ever-present smile.

Then there is Hultgren the multi-sport athlete.

One: The number of Class B state titles with the Red Devils softball program. Hultgren pitched Huntley Project to its first state championship this past spring.

Two: Number of state championships with the Huntley Project volleyball program. The Red Devils begin pursuit of third straight this weekend at the District 4B tournament in Shepherd. “Tournament time is our favorite time of the year,” said Hultgren.

Two: Times she has been selected co-MVP of the Class B state tournament.

122-3. The Red Devils' record since Hultgren joined the varsity team as a freshman.

89: Consecutive victories for Huntley Project volleyball since 2017.

Zero: The number of losses she has endured since taking over as the program’s setter as a sophomore.

“We don’t talk about state titles,’’ said Hultgren last week, a couple of hours before her team’s final home match of the season. “Getting there is the goal but we don’t talk about the titles.

“The end goal is to get back to where we were last year. We just have to play our game.”

Hultgren is the Red Devils' on-court leader. With accurate hands and the ability to see plays develop before anybody else, she directs a Huntley Project offense that has been rarely slowed this season.

“She runs it. I just watch it,” said Red Devils’ coach Iona Stookey. “Addy is very smart and very athletic. Teams with the best setters win the most matches and I’ve had some great setters. And she falls right in there.”

With a little jump on every set, Hultgren ranks third all-time for a program that has won 11 Class B state championships and played in 10 consecutive title matches. She will also approach 1,000 career digs during tournament play the next few weekends.

Hultgren is the catalyst for a veteran front line that includes hard-hitting seniors Alana Graves and Emily Poole.

“Our seniors, they can hit anything,” said Hultgren. “The setter is the quarterback of the team. You get to participate in every play, you touch the ball every time. I don’t feel the pressure. I like having control as the setter.”

On the court, Hultgren is already scanning the defense before the first pass reaches her hands.

“I’m looking at the blockers. You’ve got to pay attention to who is more open,” she said. “You’ve got to go to the person who can put down the ball.”

And with a savvy setter, Huntley Project has amped up the offensive pressure.

“I think having a smart setter gives a team a chance to make quicker decisions,” Stookey said.

Which means the Red Devils are putting the pedal to the metal on every play.

“We’re moving the ball around a lot better,” added Hultgren. “We’re trying to speed up our offense, it catches the blockers off guard. I like working the ball around, swinging it out to the hitters. I try to get as many players involved as I can.

“Just clicking with the hitters, that’s a good feeling. I like celebrating with my teammates.”

And Hultgren, with a laugh, will be the first to admit her game isn’t perfect.

“Everybody knows I’m the worst at covering,” she said of being in defensive possession after a teammate’s swing. “I watch every set. About halfway through, I realize I have to get in the right spot.”

Hultgren is weighing her options for college. She’d like to continue playing volleyball somewhere.

And she has one more immediate wish.

“I always wished I could hit,” Hultgren said. “I still kind of do. We’ve had that in certain situations, but it’s not really for me. I’m not very good at hitting at all, I have very bad timing.

“I do wish I could pound one. But setting is my job.”

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Email Joe Kusek at joe.kusek@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJoe

Sports writer at the Billings Gazette

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