BY SETH ROMSA TRIBUNE SPORTS WRITER
Courtesy of the Powell Tribune
A successful 2021 season for the Trapper volleyball team just received a cherry on top, after it was named top in Region IX for academics — also finishing at the top nationally for the second year in a row and finishing in the top 15 overall.
Overall, the Trappers finished with a 3.63 GPA for the 2021 season, a trend Coach Scott Keister hopes to continue going forward.
“Academics is No. 1 on my list,” Keister said. “I will take that over a good record every day of the week.”
He believes that kids who are successful in the classroom are smart, disciplined, manage themselves, and are tougher than other athletes.
Keister believes that students who excel in the classroom are more likely to be disciplined on the court and are able to adapt and learn. He also believes it is easier to make a good student into a good athlete than the reverse.
“If you find a good student that is good at volleyball, you can train them up and make them great at volleyball,” he said.
Keister said even though his team did not finish first in the country for GPA, that he feels his team is one of the smartest because of the difficulty of classes his team is taking. He said his athletes have taken tough courses such as biomechanics, advanced chemistry and human anatomy, among others.
The volleyball players at Northwest also often put in several credit hours above the required 12 a semester to be eligible in order to graduate early before the spring of their sophomore year.
“The fact they are at a 3.63 with that schedule, high credit load and being in season for two of those three semesters — that is a major accomplishment,” Keister said.
He said the team is able to stay on course due to required study table hours, grade checks every couple of weeks, regular communication with professors and working ahead for homework before heading on road trips.
Keister said his athletes must also sit in the front row so they are more likely to participate in class, and they are not allowed cellphones in class.
“They hate it at first, but then they realize, ‘Doing this one little thing can make me this much better,’” he said. “That translates onto the court.”