Thursday, January 8, 2015

KCKCC volleyball All-American to Mo. Western


KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Kansas City Kansas Community College All-American Blair Russell will continue her volleyball career at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.

An All-Jayhawk and All-District first team selection in helping lead the Lady Blue Devils to the consolation championship of the NJCAA Division II national tournament, Russell is KCKCC’s first player to be named to the NJCAA First All-America team.

A December graduate at KCKCC, Russell will transfer immediately and begin classes at MWSU next week.

“I talked to quite a few MIAA schools and had decided to wait until the spring to decide because I had had no time to go visit,” said Russell. “But I took a visit to MWSU because it was so close and just loved it – and they had the program I wanted to major in.”

“The entire Blue Devil coaching staff is so proud of Blair’s achievements both on the court and in the classroom,” said KCKCC head coach Mary Bruno. “Her work last spring was the turning point. She worked so hard and it showed by the All-American honors. A leader and great team player, she has the potential to make a major impact at Missouri Western. I just can’t wait to see what the next two years hold for her.”

Russell, who earned an Associate’s degree at KCKCC with a major in Journalism,will major in Convergent Media at MWSU. “I really like photography and video editing,” said Russell. By transferring now, her goal is to graduate in December of 2017.

At Missouri Western, Russell will fill the same role she played at KCKCC, outside hitter where she was fifth in the nation in kills (516) and eighth in kills (3.94) per game.

“I was recruited to fill the spot of their outside hitter who graduated,” said Russell, who was recruited by head coach Marian Carbin and assistant Signe Mueller. “They really seemed to care about their players and program and think I’ll fit right in.” Russell is one of two Jayhawk Conference standouts joining the NWMU program this spring. “The setter from Fort Scott also signed,” said Russell.

Location-wise, MWSU is a great fit for Russell. Her older sister and a former KCKCC player, Riley, is a nurse in Kansas City while her parents now live in Omaha.

A graduate of Marysville (Kan.) High School where she was a three-sport standout, Russell almost gave up competitive volleyball after injuring her shoulder her freshman year at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Tex. However, once in contact with Bruno, Russell decided to continue at KCKCC, a decision she calls one of the best of her life. “I had a really good time and am going to miss it,” said Russell.


PHOTO: With head coach Mary Bruno looking on, Kansas City Kansas Community College All-American Blair Russell put the final touches on her transfer to Western Missouri State University where she’ll continue her volleyball career beginning next week. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)