Marissa Howard is sitting next to her mom, Marci Reinsch, holding her sister Mara Reinsch with summer softball coach Rick Buerer and Exeter-Milligan Volleyball Coach behind her as they support her as she moves to play college athletics.
After winning the volleyball state championship Exeter-Milligan senior Marissa Howard realized she wasn’t quite ready to hang up her jersey.
While touring several colleges in the area there was no doubt in her mind that Nebraska Wesleyan University was the place for her. “It was more individualized and made me feel like I was at home. I liked the campus and the whole layout.”
Howard plans to major in biology and minor in environmental studies. She knows that college won’t be easy but so much of what Exeter-Milligan Coach Darcy White has taught her will continue to serve her at the next level.
“Coach White is a very intense coach. She knows how to get you in shape and it will obviously be another step, but she has prepared us.”
White is confident in Howard’s future success, “she is such a competitive, motivated individual. I think she will make an impact right away because of her positivity and energy that she brings to the court.”
“Marissa truly matured into a fantastic volleyball throughout her four years of playing for me. She grew into a committed player and teammate, and I think her confidence on the court was an inspiration to her teammates. She has tremendous all around skills which gives her the ability to play many positions, but what I think I will remember the most about Marissa is her incredible jumping abilities, and her tremendous quickness and definitely that huge smile that was always on her face.”
That vertical jump and her hang time were two things that stood out to Wesleyan volleyball coach Rayna Cain. “She will probably start in the middle where she is comfortable but we plan to move her to the outside to utilize her vertical eventually. Her athleticism and personality fit really well with what we were looking for.”
Howard has experienced a great deal of success in athletics. She was part of two state championship volleyball teams along with two state championships in summer softball league. White noted that the success Howard has experienced, “lends to her self-confidence that she can continue this at the next level."
Volleyball is not the only sport that Howard will pursue at Wesleyan. “Softball has always been my number one sport but throughout high school I wanted to play volleyball, too.”
Now, at Wesleyan, Howard will have the opportunity to participate in both sports collegiality. She also will have two years of eligibility left to play in summer softball league and she has been invited to play with the championship team Flames of Nebraska.
Flames Coach, Rick Buerer was on hand to support Howard in her decision to play collegiate sports. “I just wanted to support Marissa as I have been working with her on her pitching since last fall.”
Howard is looking forward to a summer full of softball before she heads to Lincoln to prep for her first college volleyball season. She will be taking what Coach White instilled in her when she goes, “It’s not just what you can accomplish, Coach White has made me want to strive for higher goals.”