Moffat County’s Tiawna Smercina to play college volleyball in Sterling | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County’s Tiawna Smercina to play college volleyball in Sterling

Moffat County High School senior Tiawna Smercina, center, signs a letter of intent Wednesday to play volleyball for Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, surrounded by, from left, parents Ed and Tylawn, coach Starla Jensen and MCHS Athletics and Activities Director Mike Mitchell. Tiawna plans to transfer to Colorado State University later in her college career, striving to become a veterinarian.

The list of athletes from Moffat County High School's Class of 2015 who will be continuing their sports in college continues to grow.

MCHS senior and volleyball player Tiawna Smercina will be bumping, setting and spiking this fall at Sterling's Northeastern Junior College.

Though she was unsure about participating in sports past high school, the kind of people on NCJ's campus seemed very familiar, and the atmosphere helped make her decision.

"It felt like home," she said. "Everybody wears camouflage and drives diesel trucks."

The window of opportunity to apply for an athletic scholarship was already closed, but Tiawna submitted game footage of herself on the court to coaching staff of the Plainswomen and was offered the chance to join the team as a walk-on.

Tiawna was part of the varsity volleyball squad earlier in the school year, one of the team's leaders and the lone Bulldog to achieve the honor of All-Conference First Team in the sport in addition to an MVP distinction.

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Coach Starla Jensen said the young athlete showed great composure even when things weren't going the team's way.

"She always showed a lot of confidence in those times," Jensen said. "She was a positive face on the floor, and that's going to pay off for her when she goes off to college."

Tiawana said she plans to become a veterinarian and will study pre-veterinary medicine, pre-veterinary science and animal science while at NJC.

"With my two years there in those three majors, I'll transfer to (Colorado State University) in Fort Collins, and all my credit hours will transfer, which is really nice because they're partners," she said. "I chose Sterling because they have such a good agricultural program, so if I don't end up becoming a veterinarian, I can still branch off into something involving animals."

At the moment, the teen is unsure how long she will continue with volleyball depending on academic demands. Tiawna's parents, Ed and Tylawn, who were present to watch her sign a letter of intent Wednesday afternoon, approve of their daughter making school a priority.

"She's got a good head on her shoulders," Tylawn said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.

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