Mount Olive, N.C. --- During the Pickle Classic weekend, members of two of the greatest women's volleyball teams in the history of the University of Mount Olive reunited to be recognized and see one of its own inducted into the UMO Athletics Hall of Fame.
The 2004 and 2005 UMO women's volleyball teams had a combined 52-21 record and earned a conference regular season championship and a pair of berths in the NCAA Tournament. These two teams remain the only two in UMO women's volleyball history to make a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
For a few members of these teams, the trip back to Mount Olive was their first time being back on campus since leaving more than a decade ago. "It is fun to be back on campus. Some things are still the same and some things are so different," remarked Heidi Busch-Kessens '06 in her Hall of Fame speech. "I am slightly jealous of all the great new things that have been built but happy that the students get to enjoy them."
A three-time All-American, Busch-Kessens is just the fifth women's volleyball student-athlete to be inducted into the UMO Athletics Hall of Fame. Busch-Kessens enters the hall of fame as the UMO all-time statistical leader in five categories.
Joining Busch-Kessens from the 2004 and 2005 teams were Colby Mangum '06, Samantha Mitchell '08, and Chasity Oxendine-Jones '05.
Busch-Kessens earned her bachelor's in sports management at UMO. The Fort Wayne, Indiana native began her post-graduate career working for the Association of Volleyball Professionals before returning home to work for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the NBA D-League affiliate of the Indiana Pacers. Busch-Kessens has worked for the Mad Ants for 10 years, elevating herself to the position of Vice President of Operations.
Oxendine-Jones started working in the pharmaceutical field after graduation but returned to school at UNC Charlotte for a degree in electrical engineering. Fourth in career digs all-time at UMO, Oxendine-Jones currently works in Greenville, South Carolina.
Mangum earned her bachelor's in English communications at Mount Olive. The Trojans' career-leader in blocks, Mangum served as head coach of the UMO women's volleyball team in 2014 and 2015 and as an assistant coach for the men's volleyball team. Mangum has been working on and off for Buddy's Jewelry over the past 10 years and is currently managing the Dunn, N.C. store. Mangum has also continued coaching as a coach for the Triangle Volleyball Club.
Second in all-time career digs and kills at UMO, Mitchell acquired her bachelor's degree in psychology at UMO. Mitchell was one of nine finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year award in 2008. Mitchell continued her education, earning her MBA at Dowling College before earning a degree in Occupational Therapy at Ohio State University. Mitchell currently manages two clinics in the Chicago, Illinois area and is in process of opening a third.
"I love Mount Olive. It was the best experience for me," said Mitchell. "I had the best teammates and a great administration. I rave to everyone about Mount Olive. I am so glad to be back here. It is a great opportunity for us to see each other again, as well as all the changes on campus."
The returning student-athletes were honored during the pregame ceremonies before the Trojans' men's basketball contest against Saint Augustine's University on November 19.