By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
Belton varsity volleyball senior Allison Waits has verbally committed to playing college volleyball at the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio for head coach Jennifer Montoya.
“I had a connection with the coach from the start,” Waits said. “When I went down there and visited, I felt that Incarnate Word was someplace that I could play.
Waits, a two-year varsity starter, is one of the top blockers in District 12-6A and has been one of the best stories in the Belton athletic program.
Having lost a full season of volleyball due to her first anterior cruciate ligament tear during her freshman year, she worked hard to get back into shape and worked on her volleyball skills and timing with Belton head coach Stacy Meyers and assistants Jordan Petter, Whitney Landers and Dorothy Payne. She also worked with her club team to sharpen her skills.
Following her sophomore season in 2014, she went back to playing basketball. During the first practice, Waits went down with another anterior cruciate ligament tear.
From that point, volleyball was Waits’ mainstay and basketball was history.
“It was a no-brainer,” Waits said. “Volleyball is different, as my body was able to handle the ups-and-downs of jumping and the lack of contact. I do not miss the physical contact involved with playing basketball, as it takes a toll on your body.”
Waits, the youngest daughter of Tim and Cristina Waits and sister of Emily Waits, said that the decision to go strictly volleyball was met with open arms.
“My parents have always been very supportive with whatever I do,” Waits said. “They were supportive of that decision and they are always there to support me.”
Her junior season was easily the best of her two years on the varsity squad. The ending did not set well with her, as the Lady Tigers missed the playoffs.
“I felt good about the season I had, but we all wanted to make the playoffs,” Waits said. “We ended up working on our focus and mental toughness.”
Waits went on a mission to work on her own mental toughness, while improving her skills. She played for her club team and played with her Belton teammates in the Gatesville Volleyball League in May, as well as the recently completed Centex Volleyball League in late-July.
“Our coaches preach the need for mental toughness,” Waits said. “I knew what I needed to do, both on the court and off. It was a lot of work. But that’s what’s needed to be successful.”
“Allison is a good leader and she has overcome injuries to be great on the court,” Meyers said. “Incarnate Word is a good program and she’ll enjoy it there.”
Waits will certainly be a key figure in the middle to watch in the red-and-white in 2015.