BOONE — On National Signing Day earlier this November, Watauga High School senior Caroline Farthing committed to play volleyball Appalachian State University and to play volleyball for the Mountaineers.
“I was originally offered a commitment from (former App State volleyball head coach) Matt Ginipro,” Farthing said. “And then last year Sarah Noble was hired and I was nervous at first. I was thinking like ‘OK, she can do whatever she wants, she could pull my offer.’ But then she called me in and reassured me, and said, ‘We still would love to have you here.”
That reinforcement from Noble was a significant factor in Farthing’s decision to ink her name on the offer letter from the Mountaineers.
“Part of the reason why I committed to App was Matt Ginipro wanted me. When you feel wanted, you’re drawn to that program, and I just felt like I had a place there. And she (Noble) came in and made me feel equally — if not even more — wanted by the program.”
Despite the fact that multiple members of her family attended Appalachian and her sister Sydney played for the Mountaineers previously, Farthing said the offer had nothing to do with her family — she earned this opportunity all on her own.
“At first I was really hesitant. I was worried that people would think that I’m only taking this offer because it’s easy, or because it’s in my hometown, or that I’ve known (former) coach Ginipro for a long time now. I thought that people would think that I’m not as good, and that I was just getting the offer because he knew me,” Farthing said.
Farthing compiled a stellar high school career that deserves more accolades than can fit in this article, stringing together a high-school career that was more than enough to earn her the right to play at the next level.
Over the course of four years — including a COVID-shortened 2021-22 season — Farthing amassed 1,223 kills in 299 sets, good for 4.1 kills per set (KPS). Even that does not tell the entire story however, as her KPS rises to 5.2 if her freshman and COVID-derailed seasons are discounted. In her senior season, Farthing posted 6.1 KPH.
More impressive is that Farthing has been efficient even since her freshman days, and has improved both her hit and kill percentages year-after-year. At the high school level, kill percentages of 30% are considered to be strong. Farthing easily cleared that in her freshman season with 36.1%, and has bettered her efficiency every year, culminating with a 43.1 kill percentage in 2022.
Farthing is a very proficient server as well, remaining accurate on 94% of her serves over the course of her four year career. Additionally, although she was not tasked with duties of digging, blocking or assisting very often in her outside hitter role, Farthing is quite adept at those aspects as well.
While competing at Watauga High School, Farthing earned two Conference Player of the Year awards, was named Best of Preps Volleyball Player of the Year twice, and nabbed four All-Conference accolades.
Farthing’s well rounded abilities, mixed with top athleticism and quiet, hard-working behavior were immediately noticed by Watauga volleyball head coach Kim Pryor — even when Farthing was a mere child.
“Caroline was noticed at a really young age,” Pryor said. “I remember at a 12-and-under tournament, she was awarded Attacker of the Tournament, and she was maybe 10 or 11. She’s had a natural knack for the game forever. But not only that, but she works extremely hard. Because of that, her skill level has always been top notch at every level she’s played.”
Pryor has coached Farthing — and many other members of the 2022 Watauga squad that reached the Elite 8 in state playoffs — for well more than a decade now. Most of that coaching occurred at youth club sports levels.
“Caroline is one of the most talented players that I’ve coached,” Pryor said. “More than that though, she has extreme humility. She doesn’t want the limelight. She works hard behind the scenes. She doesn’t want the attention. She just works hard and although she is so good, she doesn’t want or expect any anybody to point her out for that. She she really is a team player in every sense. It’s so rare to find someone with as much talent as she has that still works as hard and gives 100% every moment she’s on the court.”
Last season, Farthing’s Pioneers went 23-3, while App State achieved an 18-10 record, which was App State volleyball head coach Sarah Noble’s first season leading the team. App State went 7-19 the prior year in 2021.
Farthing will join the Mountaineers as a defensive specialist/libero. Noble spoke about Farthing when the Mountaineers announced their 2023 incoming signings.
“I am so excited about our 2023 class. The athleticism that this class possesses is going to make an immediate impact on our team. They are driven and motivated to take App to the top,” Noble said. “Caroline is a complete volleyball player. Her understanding of the game, ability to pass, and calm demeanor will be a great addition for us. She is a Mountaineer through and through and I couldn’t be happier that she decided to stay home in Boone for her next four years.”