SMART SPIKER: Chugiak’s Smith signs to play volleyball at Milwaukee School of Engineering
Though she’s a gifted multisport athlete, Bekah Smith’s biggest strength might be what’s between her ears.
“She is very deliberate in her attention to detail,” said Smith’s club volleyball coach Rachel Vandermartin during a National Letter of Intent signing ceremony Jan. 11 in the Chugiak High library.
Flanked by her parents, Bill and Jo, and dozens of friends, coaches and teammates, the CHS senior smiled as she officially signed on to play volleyball next season at Milwaukee School of Engineering, an NCAA Division III school located in the heart of Wisconsin’s largest city.
Vandermartin praised Smith’s ability to “see a challenge and rise above it,” her work ethic and her caring nature.
“She really is a kind and genuine person,” Vandermartin said.
Before his daughter signed her letter, Bill Smith thanked Bekah’s teachers, coaches and friends for helping her reach her volleyball goals.
“This is not something that Bekah has done alone,” he said, thanking those who filled the library for the ceremony. “It means a lot to us as a family and I know it does to Bekah.”
Smith said his daughter set her mind to becoming a volleyball player early in life, spending countless hours watching film and running drills in order to get better.
“It’s been quite a journey,” he said.
Smith is a standout athlete at Chugiak and for her Midnight Sun Volleyball Club, where she is a defensive specialist and libero. She’ll also be a member of the Team Alaska squad that competes at the Arctic Winter Games in March in the Northwest Territories.
In addition to volleyball, Smith has competed as a gymnast and runs in track and field for the Mustangs. She’s a five-time state meet qualifier who placed 10th in the triple jump last season and 13th in the 300 meter hurdles.
Smith is a high honors student who has a 4.1 weighted GPA and ranks sixth in her class at CHS. She said she chose MSOE both because of the school’s strong academic reputation and its vibrant campus just blocks from Lake Michigan.
“I loved it,” she said of a recent visit to the school. “It was beautiful.”
Smith plans to study biomolecular engineering and wants to use her degree to further research into cutting-edge medical technologies.
“Hopefully I’d like to go into something pairing it with working in medicine,” she said.
Smith’s dad, Bill, said he thinks the university offered his daughter a perfect balance of athletic and academic opportunities.
“It meets all of her needs — academically, socially and athletically,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a great four years.”
As for Bekah, she can’t wait to begin exploring college life in the Midwest.
“I’m so excited,” she said.
CORRECTION: A previous version included a photo of a file photo of a Chugiak player mistakenly identified as Smith.
Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at firstname.lastname@example.org