Rising Senior Spotlight: Emma Hutto, Michelle Heilig

Rising seniors Emma Hutto and Michelle Heilig have been a part of three straight district championships for the Bell High School volleyball team.

They’ve also participated in two final fours and made a state championship game appearance.

Hutto is the setter on the volleyball team, and she will also play third base or shortstop for the softball team. Heilig will play outside hitter for the volleyball team, as well as catcher for the softball team.

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“Emma and Michelle have been a very vital part of the success that we have enjoyed at Bell High School,” said Bell volleyball coach Drue Barry. “They are both three-year starters and we have been a combined 73-12 over that time frame.”

Hutto was a Gainesville Sun All-Area selection in volleyball and she was awarded “Outstanding Setter” for the Lady Bulldogs last season.

She finished with 667 assists last season for the Bulldogs (20-6), who lost at state runner-up Newberry in the Class 1A state semifinals. She has 1,606 assists in her career.

“Emma has been an outstanding setter for us the last two seasons,” Barry said. “She is tasked with running the offense and has done a great job by making the right decisions on who to set. The position requires some quick thinking, and she is able to handle the pressure flawlessly.”

Heilig was also a Gainesville Sun All-Area selection last season and earned “Best Defensive Player” for the Lady Bulldogs in 2020. She finished with 173 digs (423 career).

Michelle Heilig spikes the ball

“Michelle is probably one of the best pure athletes to come through our program,” Barry said. “Because of her athleticism we have asked her to play a lot of different positions on the team. This season she will play outside for us and we look for her to be our go-to-hitter.”

The duo has similar goals heading into the 2021 season.

“My team goal for my senior year is to help lead the team back to the state championship game,” Hutto said. “My individual goal is to be a better leader for my team and to be more vocal on the court.”

Heilig echoed that sentiment.

“My team goal this season is to help make history for our school by winning our first state championship,” she said. “My individual goals for my senior season are to be the best leader I can be and to be that person the team can count on.”

Hutto also finished with 189 digs last season and now has 438 for her career. She also had 48 aces (114 career).

Heilig added 140 kills last season and now has 194 for her career. She also has 92 career aces.

“I have coached both Emma and Michelle during their entire volleyball career and they have won a ton of games for us,” Barry said. “I expect them to lead the team to the same success we have had in the past. They are both excellent students in the classroom and I expect great things from them on and off the court.”

The duo have each had a couple of big high school sports moments so far.

“Being able to be a part of the team that played for the state championship my freshman year,” Hutto cited as one of her top moments. “Also, helping lead my team to another state Final Four last year as one of the captains.”

Heilig’s big moments came during the 2020 season.

“Beating Branford last year in the district tournament for some revenge,” she said. “I also cherished being able to help lead my team to the Final Four last year.”

Both have been very good in the classroom. Hutto carries a 3.91 GPA, and she also is taking dual enrollment classes. Heilig, who has also been taking dual enrollment courses while in high school, has an overall GPA of 3.93.

Hutto plans to attend Santa Fe College to start the nursing program, while Heilig is interested in the same field at either Santa Fe or Florida Gateway College.

Emma Hutto sets in volleyball

This is the first in a series on rising senior student athletes. To read Senior Spotlight features on the Class of 2021, click here

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