In order to earn acceptance to the United States Naval Academy, an applicant must clear numerous hurdles to prove worthy of attending such a prestigious institution.
The resume of an Annapolis student is well-rounded, combining academic success with impressive accomplishments in other aspects of life.
Cami Herman has prepared herself to be a strong candidate for entry throughout her four years at Brookfield Central.
In addition to being an All-Greater Metro outside hitter for the Lancers, Herman is the president of the school's DECA program and holds a top position in the "Blue Crew" student-athlete leadership group.
"Definitely volleyball has played a huge role in helping me become who I am, but there is so much more to that," Herman said. "I wouldn't be as confident of a volleyball player or as a person without (participating in other activities).
"At the end of the day, volleyball ends. You are not going to play forever. I wanted to propel myself into my future after volleyball."
She's hoping the next step begins in Annapolis at the Naval Academy.
When Herman began looking at colleges, she was initially drawn to the United States Military Academy at West Point. But as she dug deeper into potential career opportunities, the Naval Academy began more and more intriguing.
"The camaraderie, teamwork and the drive everyone shares is unmatched," Herman said. "You are never alone. There's always someone to give you a helping hand. For me, there's no better match than the Navy."
Herman has already completed a summer seminar and physical test at Annapolis and recently took the required medical and vision exam. She is currently working on her essays and collecting the required letters of recommendation.
She also needs to be nominated by a United States Senator or Representative, so she has reached out to Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner. An interview with a Navy Blue and Gold officer is also required.
Both on and off the court, Herman's leadership traits are invaluable to the Lancers.
Herman made the varsity team as a freshman, allowing her to play two seasons with her older sister, Aileen.
After Aileen's senior class reached the sectional final in 2015, Cami knew it was her turn to step up as a leader with just two seniors on the 2016 team.
"I never felt uncomfortable as a freshman or sophomore," Herman said. "But once my sister's senior class left, it was like, 'Wow, it is my turn now to carry the load.' I didn't realize how much they had done for me until they were gone."
The leadership of the Lancers was tested early on this season.
The Homestead/St. Thomas More Joust is an early-season indicator of where the top teams in the state stand. Brookfield Central entered the season with high expectations but went just 2-4 at The Joust.
Herman, along with fellow captains Miranda Wucherer and Sarah Ozolins, saw things they didn't like and knew they had to prevent the Lancers from spiraling into an even slower start.
"They got the gut punch at the Joust," Brookfield Central coach Scott Spiess said. "We kind of walked in thinking we were going to be better than we were. Things didn't go so well. We were right there in a number of matches.
"It starts at the top. If the leaders are working hard, everybody else is. If they are being held accountable by the coaches, then it makes it that much easier for everybody else."
Brookfield Central has won 10 of its 13 matches since, with losses coming to top-ranked Arrowhead and fourth-ranked Mukwonago in tournament play and to third-ranked Menomonee Falls in Greater Metro match.
The Lancers defeated 10th-ranked Brookfield East (No. 1 at the time) and honorable mention Burlington at the Muskego Invite on Sept. 2. At its own invite on Sept. 9, Brookfield Central downed defending state champion and ninth-ranked Neenah, Division 2 fifth-ranked East Troy and second-ranked DSHA (again, No. 1 at the time) before falling to Mukwonago in the final.
The impressive two-week stretch led to the Lancers entering the state rankings at No. 5. It has also given Brookfield Central a shot in the arm knowing it is capable of playing with any team in the state.
Brookfield Central has advanced as far as the sectional final, but it has never reached the state tournament. In order to do so, it will have to get past DSHA and Brookfield East come tournament time.
"Every year we have the same goal: Go somewhere we've never been before and do something we've never done before," Herman said. "There are multiple steps to that. In my tenure, we haven't won a conference championship. We've made sectional finals, but we've never gone to state.
"But we know in order to achieve those goals, we have to start small."