It was a tough wait for Kizzy Willey - the 18-year-old outside hitter needed to know whether she had done enough to be considered one of the best.
She called her parents Saturday night: She had made the junior national volleyball team. Celebration promptly ensued.
"We're really, really excited," Willey said. "It's a great honor to be named one of the 12 best players in my age group. I already have a lot to work on and train for, so I'll be getting ready for that soon."
Willey, a volleyball star at Lone Peak and an Arizona State commit, is only the third Utahn to make the women's junior national team. She made the squad after a tough tryout and tournament with the High Performance team in Des Moines, Iowa.
What might be most suprising of all is Willey was ailing for a chunk of the activities: A finger injury took her out of the final five days of camp and limited her in the tournament, which the United States won.
The family was left crossing its fingers up until this weekend.
"She fought through it and played a little bit," said Cindy Willey, Kizzy's mother. "We were hoping maybe she'd have a chance, that maybe the coaching staff would have faith that her hand would heal."
Hopefully, the teen's hand will be ready to go by Aug. 19, when the team heads to Nicaragua for the NORCECA cahmpionships. Willey will miss time with her high school team, but says so far, her coaches and teammates have been entirely supportive.
"They are really excited for me and have my back - I'm going to practice with a lot of my teammates to help prepare," she said. "It's nice to represent Utah, and show that you don't need to be from California or Texas to play good volleyball."
Willey says she dreams of going to the Olympic Games - perhaps Brazil 2016 - but that ambition still seems far away. For now, the junior national team is quite an accomplishment.
"When I was a little girl, I used to look up at those players and think, 'Wow, they're so big, they're so good,'" she said. "But now it's weird to see the little girls looking up at me, who cheer me on."
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon