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p1440: Jade Hayes, Kirsten Overton

p1440 Developmental Program: Jade Hayes and Kirsten Overton

Jade Hayes-Kirsten Overton-p1440

It’s a partnership formed – how else? – by one hitting the other in the face.

Kirsten Overton had been a middle blocker at Temple, Jade Hayes a libero and outside hitter at the University of Missouri.

“Found each other,” Hayes said, laughing. “Got hit in the face by her. It’s cool.”

It seems everything is just fine between the two, who are now partners in the p1440 Developmental Program. They can’t seem to decide on a team name. At first, they went for Team Flash, a nod to their speed as a team – they’re both remarkably fit individuals. But by the end of a two and a half minute video, they were already amending it to Team Giggles, for the constant and ubiquitous fits they’d fall into.

Didn’t matter the topic. Could have been SpongeBob. Could have been learning volleyball. Could have been their roundabout paths to California and beach volleyball. No matter what it was they were speaking of, laughs were a constant.

Perhaps it explains why Overton is a lover of all things SpongeBob.

“Anything to do with SpongeBob,” she said, “send them my way.”

They laugh, yes. And they are nearly invariably having a good time off or on the volleyball court, no matter the score. But through those laughs and smiles and SpongeBob memes, they’re serious athletes, these two.

Overton was a first-team All-American Conference blocker in 2015, while Hayes’ volleyball career spanned three colleges – Missouri, Central Florida, South Carolina. It was actually a bit of an accident she ended up at all three. Initially, she had transferred to UCF thinking she’d be able to compete on the beach. And so, after being named the Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year twice, after being named an UnderArmour High School All-American, after competing as a Tiger and in 64 matches as a Knight, she wound up at South Carolina, one of the top beach programs in the East.

Next stop: California. Overton made the move with designs on getting into production and, as it often goes with volleyball players who move to the Los Angeles area, caught the beach bug. Now, this high-octane, uber-athletic, fast-moving, giggling, SpongeBob-loving team in p1440’s Developmental Program has its sights set on the upcoming season.

“Our goal is to learn patience,” Overton said. “We need to slow it down. Calm. Enough to make a main draw. Work our way up.”

If their careers are any indicator, they’ll do it quickly. Or, one might say – pun fully intended — in a Flash.