COLUMBIA — If there was one word to describe Sophie Cunningham as an athlete, it would be "versatile." The word fits Cunningham not only in the number of sports she plays, but also how she plays them.
Last year, Cunningham was a member of the Rock Bridge volleyball team and the state championship basketball team. She was an all-district selection in volleyball and an all-state selection in basketball. And all that was in her freshman year.
“Winning the state championship in basketball was definitely a big deal for the team,” Cunningham said. “That experience trickled down to high pressure situations in volleyball like game-point or knowing that you have to get that important dig or spike.”
Cunningham’s versatility isn't just about excelling in multiple sports. She is also multifaceted when she is on the court.
As a sophomore, Cunningham was injured for the majority of this volleyball season, but she came back to lead the team in kills in both of Rock Bridge’s district games. Cunningham’s jump serve also proved to be lethal in the first district match against Hickman, when the Bruins went on a 15-point run to close out the second game. But as Rock Bridge volleyball coach Robin Sherman explains, that’s not all Cunningham brings to the table.
“Sophie is also one of our best passers,” Sherman said. When Cunningham and Carly Offerdahl "are passing well together, our offense can really get in rhythm.”
Cunningham’s many skills might be even more evident in basketball.
“I play the one, two, three and sometimes the four and five positions,” Cunningham said with a laugh. “I like to play all over the place, but mostly I play the guard positions.”
If that wasn't enough, Cunningham led the Bruins last year in points per game, assists, steals and three-pointers. Cunningham is quick to credit her teammates, which last year included her sister, Lindsey Cunningham, who is now in her first season playing for Missouri.
“Lindsey and I have played together all of our lives, but last year was the first time actually played on the same team,” Sophie Cunningham said. “She is an awesome player who reads the floor really well. She definitely made things easier on me.”
Sophie Cunningham verbally committed to the Missouri basketball team last year and said she is looking forward to following in her family’s footsteps. Her father played football at Missouri, her mother ran track there and her aunt played on the softball team.
“I’m definitely excited to carry on the family tradition,” Sophie Cunningham said. “I have heard a lot of stories about Missouri, and I am looking forward to creating my own.”
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.