— Staff Report
PEASTER — Vernon College had a fortunate leg up in their recruiting process while trying to attract Peaster senior Karissa Wolfenberger to join the Lady Chaparrals volleyball squad and attend classes at the junior college, which is about a two-hour drive to the northwest of Peaster.
Not that Vernon did not stand on its own merit regarding volleyball and academics but one of Karissa’s long-term wishes was to go to college with one of her former Lady Greyhounds’ teammates.
“When I went for my visit to Vernon, I liked the campus and everyone was very nice,” Wolfenberger said at her recent letter-of-intent signing celebration, “and I loved the coaching staff of Coach Tallman (Head Coach) and Coach Booth (Assistant Coach).
“But Blair [Smotherman] and I had talked about going to college together when we were both in high school, so that really made the decision a lot easier for me.”
Wolfenberger and 2013 Peaster grad Smotherman, have been good friends since Karissa was a freshman, and will renew their teammate status next year with the Lady Chaps.
Karissa, daughter of Sherri and Travis Wolfenberger, has an impressive volleyball resume as she heads off to play at the next step. The middle blocker helped propel the Lady Hounds to postseason play in 2013, was named to the all-district First Team in District 9-2A, was an All-Parker County first teamer and awarded as one of the Top Ten Athletes of Parker County during her Senior year. Previous years yielded numerous awards as well. Heading up a very young Peaster varsity team, Wolfenberger was one of two seniors on the squad, along with classmate Sandy Weyenberg. She quickly noted that she and Sandy have played together since beginning as teammates in the 5th grade and was blessed to end their high school volleyball careers together.
Karissa is excited about the future for the Lady Chaps.
“Vernon has done well in the past and I know we will continue to excel next year,” she said. “Coach Tallman and Booth have an impressive program and I look forward to playing on their team.”
Wolfenberger will take care of her basic requisites while attending Vernon for the next couple of years but has designs on concentrating future studies to become a Wildlife Biologist, specifically large game.
Karissa has been all about future plans for a good while. Beginning her volleyball career as a fifth grader, it only took her a couple of years to decide life on the court was to be her pursuit through her Peaster years and beyond. She gives credit to her sisters, Karlee and Kolbie, for instilling the love of the game and her parents for the many years of support.
The student-athlete turns sweetly emotional when talking about her goals coming to fruition, and the memories she takes with her from Peaster.
“I’ve just loved playing here,” she said. “Everyone, the coaches and my teammates, have just been wonderful. I can’t even begin to describe how awesome this whole experience has been.”