College Park's Smith gives blueprint for incoming college athletes
Kennedi Smith came out of College Park High School as the District 16-6A MVP and a VYPE Fab 50 selection in 2016. With her accolades, surely all big-time school would have picked her up, right?
At 5-foot-8, the high majors took a pass due to her height. Her path took her to the northeast, where she landed in New Hampshire.
We caught up with the two-time American East All-Conference first-teamer while home for the summer. She gave the road map for future college volleyball players headed off to play college ball.
Playing Division I volleyball is a dream for most people. At least that is what I dreamed about. The recruiting process was not easy for me because I was constantly getting rejected from the big schools I had dreamed playing for.
Being 5-foot-8 is not your ideal outside-hitter. After some convincing, my club coach helped me realize that it is okay not going to a big DI school. So, I started looking at and visiting smaller DI schools, which brought me to the University of New Hampshire.
The first year of college was probably the biggest challenge for me because I was 1,900 miles away from my friends and family. I didn't have time to be homesick at first, because I was busy constantly training and practicing getting ready for the season.
When I had the downtime and was able to relax, that is when I started thinking about how far I was. I had seven other girls from across the country who came in with me. We were all going through the same thing and were able to help each other out.
How about this for a perk? It doesn't get that cold in Houston. It's cold in the northeast. Like, freezing. I had to get an entire new wardrobe.
Time management was a little tricky in the beginning, because I didn't know what to expect when balancing out playing volleyball and going to class. The nice thing about it was that we got our practice schedule and then we set up our classes around practice. That way we know when we have time to get stuff done either before or after practice.
Traveling for games was great. It would give us plenty of time to get homework done, and you really bond with your teammates off the court.
With that being said, playing college volleyball is definitely an experience and something I will never forget.
You have to stay focused and keep working hard no matter what. You're going to have your ups and downs, but remember how hard you've work to get to where you've gotten.