There are not many volleyball teams that feature four Olympians and leaves its coach thinking it might be underrated.
The Columbia College volleyball team, which starts the season ranked No. 6 in the NAIA, has three members of Kenya’s 2000 Olympic volleyball team and one member of its 2004 Olympic team playing for it.
“I don’t always understand the rankings, but I respect them,” coach Melinda Wrye-Washington said. “We beat the No. 2 team, Biola, in three games last year at the (NAIA) championships and we return almost the same team, as do they.”
Five starters return from last year’s Cougars team, two of which earned NAIA All-American honors.
Senior Jacqueline Makokha was an All-American at outside hitter and sophomore Doris Wefwafwa was a third team All-American at outside hitter. Both were members of Kenya’s 2000 Olympic team, as was the Cougars’ Nancy Sikobe, an outside hitter. Columbia College’s Nancy Nyogesa, an outside hitter, is a member of the 2004 Olympic team representing Kenya.
“When I first heard I would have Olympian teammates a few years ago, I was definitely intimidated,” senior outside hitter Tracie Ford said. Wrye-Washington said she feels her team is ready.
“In past years at this point we’ve had to work on our skills, but that isn’t the case this year,” Wrye-Washington said. “We’re at a point where we can focus on strength and conditioning and hitting the weight room. We are able to work on things this year that we couldn’t last year at this same point in the season.”