Knoch's Celina Sanks to play volleyball at Eastern Kentucky
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Sought by college volleyball programs to an extent she never expected, Knoch junior Celina Sanks endured stretches of considerable stress during her recruiting process.
At last, all is settled in Sanks' mind.
The 5-foot-10 outside hitter verbally accepted a scholarship offer to play volleyball at Division I Eastern Kentucky Wednesday. An All-WPIAL Class AA and all-state selection, she visited the university in Richmond, Ky., for a second time Tuesday and grew certain of her choice.
“The girls were so welcoming,” Sanks said. “They were like family. It's a very family-oriented team. Some teams, you can tell who the sophomores and freshmen are. But with them, I couldn't tell.”
Sanks formally visited Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, Toledo and Lafayette. Earlier in the process, she took unofficial trips to Georgetown and Division III Franklin & Marshall.
While her height compared favorably to most of her high school opponents, Sanks will enter the Division I level as an undersized outside hitter.
“In normal situations, I am tall, but in the volleyball world, I'm average sized,” Sanks said. “So I really need to be able to focus on my jumping and either be able to jump and hit over the block or use the block.”
Sanks' “touch” height — a measurement used by colleges to assess players' jumping ability and vertical reach — is 9 feet, 10 inches.
“She definitely has Division-I talent, but she doesn't have that height you'd need for a Penn State,” Knoch coach Diane Geist said. “She has the all-around abilities — in the front row, the back row. And she loves the game.”
Sanks' love bloomed during the last few years. As a seventh grader, she considered basketball her passion and questioned whether she even wanted to start playing volleyball.
“I think just at first I was reluctant to go to tryouts, but my mom pushed me and just said Coach Geist was a really good coach,” Sanks said.
She attended and embraced the sport. The summer after she completed eighth grade, she heightened her commitment by joining Pittsburgh Elite, a Junior Olympic club.
Sanks made a major sacrifice at the start of this school year when she decided to forgo basketball and focus strictly on her other court sport. The opportunities that emerged justified the decision in her mind.
“I still love the game,” Sanks said of basketball, “but volleyball, I've kind of put it in the front row.”
Sanks, who thanked her family, friends and coaches for the support provided over the past several months, said she never dealt with pressure from her parents to choose a certain destination — they might've objected to a California school, but they considered Eastern Kentucky's seven-hour drive agreeable, she said.
“They never thought I'd have this opportunity, so just having it was a blessing in itself,” Sanks said. “They really didn't push me anywhere. Their biggest thing was just for me to be happy.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- EPA says it won’t reguluate coal ash as hazardous waste
- Pitt’s acting athletic director is deft facilitator
- Position move fits Pitt sophomore Artis
- Steelers notebook: Polamalu, Taylor unlikely to play, Harrison ‘ready’
- Real estate union: Howard Hanna buys Langholz Wilson Ellis
- Shady Side Academy torments Apollo-Ridge, moves to 3-0
- Penn Township man who shot friend gets probation
- United Way surplus funds benefit 9 nonprofits in Westmoreland County
- DC local roundup: Connellsville boys basketball earns first win of the season
- Hotel building boom sweeps Pittsburgh region
- Undersized Beachum quietly excels at 1 of game’s pivotal positions