Smith reflects on making history for Valdosta High volleyball

Published: Jun. 11, 2020 at 4:35 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) — Valdosta High School senior Kemari Smith made history by becoming the first volleyball player in school history to ever sign a college scholarship.

Smith will attend Gulf Coast College in the fall.

"It makes me feel real accomplished," Smith said, "Like I did something big."

Smith's signing is a big deal for Valdosta: The program just completed its fifth season of varsity competition.

"Kemari put us on the map," Valdosta head coach Anna McCall said. "For her to have been recruited and going to college is going to open the doors for other girls."

The six-footer is still new to volleyball; she only began playing the sport during her sophomore year.

"During my sophomore year," Smith said, "I asked Coach McCall 'Can I play JV,' because I didn't get a lot of playing time [on varsity] my sophomore year. So I can get more of a taste."

Smith started varsity her junior and senior seasons. She said her recruiting started to pick up after playing a couple of games at FAMU.

"The coach at [Gulf Coast] saw us play," Smith said, "Then he gave my club coach his card. That really changed my thought of everything."

And while Kemari is excited for her accomplishments, she feels this is more for her teammates still at Valdosta.

"Doing it for the other girls is bigger," Smith said. "Now, they have something to look up to. They say 'Kemari, You really did it. Now I have the courage to do it, too.'"

Kemari said if she had not signed with Gulf Coast college, she was going to serve the country in the Navy.

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