GALION — Nikki Thomas’ first year in college may be a bit of break, considering the schedule the Galion High School senior is keeping during this, her senior year as a Tiger.
Thomas on Thursday signed a letter of intent to play volleyball starting next year at Heidelberg University in Tiffin. Thomas has been a part of the varsity volleyball program for four years, where her specialty is defense. This year she helped the Lady Tigers to a 24-2 record, a berth in the regional tournament and another Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference title for her teammates and coach Jaime Valentine.
After her senior season, she was a second team-all MOAC volleyball selection and was a second-team all district honoree.
“I didn’t want to go someplace too big,” Thomas said. “Heidelberg is Division III. When I visited, I loved the campus, I liked the dorms and I liked the designs of the buildings. They look old on the outside, but inside everything is new and modern.”
She also is familiar with her coach and some of the other players at Heidelberg
Thomas — at this point in time, anyway — plans to study nursing. She also has a desire to get into forensics after she completes her college education.
She also likes the fact Tiffin is not far from home, as does her mother Loretta Webber, who plans to travel to as many as the home volleyball matches as possible.
On hand Thursday afternoon at the high school for a signing ceremony were Valentine, Galion athletics director Kyle Baughn, her mother and three of her closest friends and fellow volleyball team members Kate Schieber, Brooklyn Cosey and Gillian Miller. Teammate Taylor Keeraon, who announced earlier that she will play college volleyball at Carson-Newman, also stopped to say hi and offer up a hug.
One missing element to her Thomas’ college volleyball career will be that Schieber, her long-time warm-up partner, will no longer be round to help her get ready for when the action starts.
A Galion senior attending Pioneer Career and Technology School in Shelby, Thomas also plays softball and travel volleyball. The fact that she got her college announcement out of the way early, might make her spring sports season a little less hectic. She is looking forward to next summer when there are only college classes and college volleyball to contend with.
Valentine, her coach for the past four seasons, is not surprised by Thomas’ decision to keep playing.
“She’s a hard worker, she’s dedicated and she has a passion for volleyball,” Valentine said. “She already does a lot of things well, and I know she will get even better.”