Karli Reichert, '20

Karli Reichert sits on the steps by the bell tower

Junior Karli Reichert started playing volleyball in the third grade. She likes volleyball because it is a non-contact sport, but still competitive.

“I’ve always been really competitive. I’ve played tons of different sports, but I love that volleyball is noncontact. It’s just a really good way to get out my competitive side,” Reichert said.

But moving on to college competition was a decision that she made late in the game.

“It was such a fluke that I ended up at Rockhurst,” Reichert said. “I didn’t decide that I wanted to play volleyball in college until halfway through my senior year, and every other college had their roster by then. Coach (Tracy) Rietzke reached out to me and I came and practiced with the team and got a tour of campus, and that was really it.”

Being a student-athlete comes with extra responsibilities, but Reichert said that she’s never had a problem balancing school and volleyball.

“I feel like coach Rietzke makes it pretty easy. He always says academics are first, so he gives us that leeway. If we have class that’s an excuse to miss practice,” Reichert said. “I’ve just always been a person that likes to stay busy. I feel like the more that I have to do, the better I am at time management.”

Having support from Rietzke, and knowing she could balance school and extracurriculars, Reichert said that entering college on the volleyball team helped with the initial transition and with continuing to enhance her college experience.

“Being on the team made the transition from high school to college a lot easier because I had that group of friends automatically just by being on the team,” Reichert said. “We went to Florida this year for the Final Four and that was awesome. That’s just really added to my college experience.”

This past season, Reichert and teammate Alyssa Woodman, junior, were both recipients of the NCAA Elite 90 award. This award is typically given to one person with the highest GPA out of all teams in the NCAA Division II. This year, there was a three-way tie.

“I think the fact that we had two from Rockhurst really showcases how we are able to put academics first and we’re able to focus on our studies,” she said.

Reichert, who is from Kansas City, receives support from not only her team and coaches, but also friends and family who are able to attend games.

“Obviously the team is the biggest support system. We always just like when we have big tests coming up or whatever we help each other study. Being in Kansas City, my friends and my family are able to come to games and support me and so that’s really cool,” Reichert said.

Reichert recommends anyone to try being a student-athlete even if they might be unsure about it at first.

“Try it out. You can always stop if it’s too much. It's been such a positive experience for me and I would definitely recommend it,” Reichert said. “I think it's been a huge part of my college experience and it’s been super fun for me.”