Omaha Concordia junior setter Sami Clarkson is headed to UNO after high school.
The 5-foot-11 Clarkson was an integral part of the Mustangs’ Class C-1 state championship team last season, recording 893 assists.
The volleyball recruiting process can start as early as eighth grade for most players and that was no different for Clarkson.
Clarkson, a state qualifier in swimming and a 4.0 student saw her recruitment pick up during her freshman year.
“Every time I walk on the court I want to be the hardest worker and have the best attitude,” Clarkson said. “Now that I have committed I need to use every opportunity I have to develop all of my volleyball skills and leadership to be able to contribute to UNO’s program when I get there.”
Clarkson was on Premier Nebraska 14 Black — the club’s second team — as an eighth grader and continued to develop her game. Through her hard work, she was placed on Premier Nebraska 15U Gold her freshman year.
“I am extremely grateful to my club team and my coaches at Concordia.”
She chose UNO over another school in the Summit league, a military academy and several other schools across the Midwest.
“I was looking for three things during the recruitment process,” she said. “A strong culture, great coaches and good academics. UNO outdid those things in every category for me.”
The strong culture at UNO stood out for Clarkson during the recruiting process
“They have a super close nit family atmosphere and the coaches care about the girls and their lives off the court as well as developing them on the court,” she said. “On an unofficial visit I noticed a mentality striving to see excellence in everything they do, even in practice.”
Clarkson wanted to find coaches that would push her to reach her maximum capacity as a player and believes UNO is making the changes necessary to be a better program at every opportunity.
She plans to major in either exercise science and pre-med or something in the biology field. While volleyball wont last forever, she is confident UNO will provide her the type of education she is looking for.
“I wanted a quality education and to choose a school that will benefit me later in life,” she said.
Concordia lost five of six starters from last year’s state championship team, but that hasn’t tempered the Crusaders’ expectations for the 2017 season.
“Our biggest goal is to go as far as we can in the postseason,” she said “Our motto is that we want to work harder than every team we play.”