Ten years ago this week, then-7-year-old Anne Marie Kiel had an opportunity to play the piano at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Given that pressure-packed environment, playing in her first sectional volleyball game as a starter probably won’t seem all that difficult. The senior, who has played in a reserve role for Columbus North the past two years, will help lead the Bull Dogs into this week’s Shelbyville Sectional, where they will meet Bloomington North in Thursday’s opener.
Kiel was in second grade at St. Peter’s Lutheran School when her piano teacher, Nancy Crump, signed up her and another Columbus girl, Madissen Pearson, for the World Piano Competition. The prize was to play at Carnegie Hall.
Pearson won the competition but was unable to go to New York. So Kiel got to go in her place.
Being the youngest pianist at Carnegie Hall that October day, Kiel went first. She played for about two minutes.
“I don’t think I knew what I was experiencing back then; but looking back, it was really cool,” Kiel said. “I know I got to miss school for it, and I remember being in a limo on the way there, and I was thinking ‘Wow, my friends are back in math class.'”
Kiel had only been playing piano for about a year at the time and played for only about six months after that. Her mom made her and her brother Warren practice about two hours a day.
“As a kid that young, I didn’t like practicing that much,” said Kiel, who picked up other instruments in middle school.
She also picked up volleyball.
As a freshman at North, Kiel played on the freshman team. She’s played mostly junior varsity, while seeing a little varsity action the past two years.
With the graduation of seven seniors last season, Kiel was able to move into the Bull Dogs’ lineup as a senior this year.
“I’m more excited than nervous,” Kiel said. “It’s a lot more pressure, but it’s something that I’ve been looking forward to, and I think I’ve earned it.”
After starting the season as a left-side hitter, the 5-foot-9 Kiel has moved to the right side of the court.
“She’s given us another aspect to our offense,” North coach Caitlin Greiner said. “She’s very athletic. She has a good awareness of the court, and she’s a strong blocker for us on that side.”
Last week, Kiel visited Spalding University in Louisville. She also has visited Cincinnati and Florida Gulf Coast and plans to visit DePauw and University of Indianapolis. If Kiel attends Spalding or DePauw, which are Division III schools, she likely will try to walk on to the volleyball team.
For the moment, Kiel is focused on helping the 10-21 Bull Dogs upset Bloomington North and earn a possible sectional semifinal rematch with Columbus East.
“I wish that we would have won a lot more, but we’ve become very close, and I think that will help us in our sectional,” Kiel said.
6 p.m.: Columbus North vs. Bloomington North
7:30 p.m.: Columbus East vs. Bloomington South
11 a.m.: Columbus North-Bloomington North winner vs. Columbus East-Bloomington South winner
12:30 p.m.: Shelbyville vs. East Central
7 p.m.: Championship