McCook's Allison Smith to play volleyball at CCC-Columbus

Thursday, January 19, 2006
John J. Mesh/McCook Daily Gazette McCook High School senior Allison Smith, center seated, signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Central Community College-Columbus. She is flanked by her parents Marie, left, and Robert Smith, Culbertson. In back is McCook High School head volleyball coach Krystal Weber.

McCook High School volleyball coach Krystal Weber only got to guide Allison Smith for two seasons and wishes she had her for two more.

But alas, Smith, a 6-foot middle hitter who played her first two seasons at Culbertson High School, will graduate and move on.

Smith signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play volleyball at Central Community College-Columbus, the same school where another Bison alum Jessica Allberry played volleyball for two seasons.

"She hasn't reached her potential," Weber said. "We only had her for two years. She transitioned well between Culbertson and McCook. The game was a lot faster and she picked it up quickly.

"She's a diamond in the rough. I'm excited to see how much she's going to improve when she gets to college."

Barry Schaeffer, who coached Smith in volleyball and basketball at Culbertson and now coaches her in basketball at McCook, said Smith will be a success at the college level.

"Allison will be a successful college athlete," Schaeffer said. "She has her priorities in order and has an excellent work ethic. She has always been very coachable and worked very hard to get the most out of her potential.

"For example, Allison in her short two-year career in McCook will finish among the top 10 in career scoring (in basketball). I wish her the very best in her college career, I believe she will have success at that level."

Schaeffer said Smith was a key player on Culbertson's Class D2-state tournament team as a freshman. The Bears lost in the first round.

"She rotated in the middle front for us on that team and was one of our leading hitters and blockers that season," Schaeffer said.

During her senior year at McCook, Smith had 309 kills (school record) and 56 blocks.

She owns the McCook record in single match kills with 19 and career kills with 507, despite playing just two seasons for the Bison.

She helped lead McCook to a 17-15 record in 2005.

Smith's awards include varsity letterwinner, GNAC Academic All-Conference, GNAC All-Conference, Twin Cities Invite All-Tournament team, McCook Daily Gazette All-Area and Omaha World Herald honorable mention.

Smith had several reasons why CCC-Columbus was the school for her.

"I really liked the coach and the girls on the team," Smith said. "It's close to Omaha and my family's from Omaha. They've done pretty well (CCC-Columbus)."

Smith chose CCC-Columbus over the University of Nebraska-Kearney (the No. 2 team in NCAA Division II) and Western Nebraska Community College.

CCC-Columbus posted a 30-8 record in 2005 and placed second in Region IX behind WNCC (which posted a 48-1 record and spent most of the season ranked No. 1 in NJCAA Division I and finished No. 2 in the final poll behind national champion Southern Idaho).

Smith said the move from Culbertson's program to McCook's program was a positive one.

"It was definitely faster, but that made it funner to play," Smith said.

"It wasn't as big as an adjustment to the school -- it was just the next town over. I really enjoy playing for coach Weber. We had a lot of team unity.

"We were a close team. I would attribute that (the winning season) to our closeness as a team and a lot of hard work."

She currently averages 13.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.4 blocks and 1.4 deflections for the Bison girls basketball team, which plays three games at the Colby Orange and Black Classic Thursday through Saturday.

Smith also competes in track at McCook High School.

Smith, the daughter of Robert and Marie Smith, Culbertson, plans to major in accounting at CCC-Columbus.

Her favorite subject in school is math.

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