Waubonsie Valley's Hess playing multiple roles

  • Kayla Hess

    Kayla Hess

  • Glenbard South senior soccer players (from left) A.J. Biancalana, Josh Cohen and Ryan Vozza are positively influenced by parents who are coaches.

    Glenbard South senior soccer players (from left) A.J. Biancalana, Josh Cohen and Ryan Vozza are positively influenced by parents who are coaches. Photo courtesy of Adam Szyszko

Updated 9/25/2019 5:38 PM

Waubonsie Valley senior Kayla Hess is truly a model tennis player.

The Warriors' No. 2 singles player has worked into that position over four years of varsity tennis and six years in the sport.


She's been a model longer than that. Much longer.

The daughter of model and actress Karen Hess, Kayla started on that path at 6 months old. She debuted in a print ad for a Medela breast pump, billed on her page at Casting Networks Inc. as "Baby, Principal." Kayla is represented by Hayes Talent Agency in Chicago. Her sophomore sister, Abigail, also is a tennis-playing model.

Kayla's roles aged as she did -- a basketball player for a Walmart television ad, a "Date" named Sara in a commercial for the National Safety Council, a daughter in a Samsung spot. She was the "Older Sister" in one of her seven Kleenex print ads.

But wait. There's more.

"Acting and singing are actually my main goals," she said. "That's what I'm really trying to accomplish and be successful in."

Hess has nearly 20 vocal and theatrical credits on her resume, not including her role in Waubonsie Valley's 2019 spring musical, "The Wedding Singer."

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Under her musical stage name, K-LA, so far Hess has written and recorded three singles, published on SoundCloud, toward her goals of a full album and eventual record deal. Her boyfriend and fellow actor, Jaden Welton, raps on her most recent release, "How We Met."

Influenced by rhythm and blues singer-songwriter H.E.R., Hess uses a computer to create beats and record vocals in her upstairs studio.

"We call it the Green Room," she said.

Right now, though, there's tennis, where Hess hopes to reach the state tournament. Her father, Steve, played at Bolingbrook and is the founder and league coordinator of Naperville-based Gladiator Tennis.

Entering Wednesday, Waubonsie Valley coach Phil Galow said Kayla Hess was 12-2 with a third-place finish at the 16-team Jacobs Invite.

"She has shown an intensity to compete this year not seen in the past," Galow said. "I have appreciated her tough practice habits and off-season efforts."


Hess titled her first single, "Can't Kill My Vibe." That says a lot about this multitalented Warrior.

"This tennis season I have almost no time to do any acting or music. I go very hard. Once the tennis season comes that's all I think about," she said.

Off the old block

Coaches in the stands. Glenbard South boys soccer coach Adam Szyszko knows all about them.

These are real coaches, though.

Raiders center back A.J. Biancalana, wing Josh Cohen and striker Ryan Vozza are sons of coaches. Cohen is the offspring of two coaches.

"The nice thing from a coach's perspective is when you have coaches' kids they know how to comport themselves and how to behave and what to expect because they've been around it, they've been exposed to it at a young age," Szyszko said.

He points to Biancalana, son of veteran basketball coach Al Biancalana, now a dean at Glenbard East. A.J. has taken full control of his rehabilitation from an injury. Vozza, son of former Metea Valley boys basketball coach Bob Vozza, did that last season.

"Every other day the trainers come up to me and say how amazing he is," Szyszko said of A.J. Biancalana.

Jason Cohen, former Prospect boys soccer coach and current assistant, was a graduate assistant at DePaul when Szyszko went there. Terri Cohen played volleyball at DePaul and coached York boys volleyball from 1999-2003.

Jason Cohen owns DePaul records for games played and points, but if he has opinions on Glenbard South's play he keeps them to himself. So too the elder Biancalana and Vozza.

"The parents are terrific," Szyszko said. "They know the coaching life, so we have great conversations about everything but coaching."

Raiders co-captains with center back Brennan Rzewuski, Ryan Vozza and Josh Cohen bring a combined seven seasons of varsity experience. A.J. Biancalana brings three more. When they speak in a postgame breakdown people listen.

"It's really fun to coach kids who get it, and these kids get it," Szyszko said. "I'd assume their parents' coaching background played a big factor in that. It's rare to have three coaches' kids. We've definitely benefitted from that."


Twitter: @doberhelman1

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