Lincoln Northeast outside hitter Toni Tupper toured Creighton and met the Bluejay volleyball coaches and players Thursday.
Then she told CU coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth it would take a couple of weeks to decide on a college.
She had already visited Missouri, Iowa State, Denver and Northern Colorado. South Dakota State and Kansas State also were in the mix.
“As I was walking out, I told my dad that’s where I wanted to go,” Tupper said. “He said OK. He really liked the school a lot, too.”
So the 6-foot-3 junior picked up the phone a short while later and told Booth she wanted to be a Bluejay.
Tupper said she liked the players and coaches and the campus. But No. 1 was the academics, both for her and her dad, Phil.
“I want to be pharmacist,” she said. “They have a really good pharmacy school.”
Tupper, playing both front and back row, led Northeast to a 19-15 record last fall. She led the team with 453 kills and 45 ace serves and was second with 286 digs and 51 ace blocks. She received honorable mention on The World-Herald’s All-Nebraska Class A volleyball team.
She also played for the Nebraska Juniors club team. One of her teammates, junior middle blocker Marysa Wilkinson of Lincoln Southwest, also plans to play for CU, another factor in Tupper’s decision.
Northeast coach Craig Songster said Tupper has made great strides on her passing and defense since her freshman year. She wasn’t ready to play the back row then.
“I think she’s got the tools to be a very good college player,” Songster said. “She’s a three-sport athlete, which in this day and age is kind of rare. When she really focuses on volleyball, I think the sky is the limit for her. I think she’ll be a great player for Creighton.”
Tupper also plays basketball and is a shot putter for the Rockets.
She’s the Class A champion in that event and leads again this spring with her throw of 45 feet, 5 inches at districts.
Several colleges expressed interest in her for track and field.
“Toward the beginning of January, I kind of wanted to do track and volleyball in college,” Tupper said. “A couple of weeks ago, I decided I just wanted to focus on volleyball. Volleyball has always been my favorite sport.”
Making a decision will allow her to focus on trying to win another state title, though.
“I’m really relieved. The recruiting process can get really stressful. I’m just glad to have it done now,” she said. “I can just enjoy the rest of track season.”
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