MORO – It has been a busy summer for Sherman High School graduate Shelby Reed.
After graduation, she played in the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Volleyball match in La Grande on June 23, signed her Letter of Intent at Blue Mountain Community College, and then worked harvest, before settling in for daily triples six days a week in Pendleton under first-year head coach Ceanna Lawson.
Reed received a full-ride scholarship to play volleyball at BMCC and plans to focus her studies on a business degree.
In her meetings with Lawson, something caught Reed’s attention—the philosophies from high school to college are similar – the coaching staff believes in establishing a culture of closeness and camaraderie.
“Coach Lawson has taught me and my teammates that we are not only a team, but a family, and we all play different roles in our family,” Reed said. “And that we need to practice like we play, and when we are playing together or practicing, that nothing else matters in that moment of time besides all of us.”
Last season, BMCC posted a 25-11 record, made it to the NWAC Volleyball Championships in Tacoma, Wash., and went 1-2 in tournament play.
In program history, the Timberwolves have won five NWAC championships, including four straight titles from 2012-2015.
The team did lose six sophomores; it is scheduled to have three returners, two sophomore transfers and between 8 and 10 freshmen on the roster.
Reed is competing against Oregon players from Oregon City, Weston-McEwen and Grant Union, two out of Lakeside and Puyallup, Wash., and a pair from Boise and Eagle, Idaho, which means she’ll represent the smallest classification in Oregon.
“Yes, I moved from my 1A school to play at the college level, but I’m ready for this challenge to play with and against girls from bigger schools and leagues,” Reed said. “I’m 110-percent ready for this challenge. I have been waiting for this moment to play for the Timberwolves ever since I started playing. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Over the past two years, Sherman volleyball has gone 19-16-1 overall and 11-8 in league, rebounding from 2015 and 2016, when the team had a 13-30 record and went 7-21 in league action.
Last fall, the Huskies finished 12-10-1 and 8-4 in league, captured second place in the Big Sky Conference tournament as the No. 4 seed, and hosted a state playoff game for the first time since 2009.
Reed walked away from that game feeling good about the success the team shared. She capped her final campaign as a first-team all-league recipient, joining fellow first teamer Desiree Winslow and honorable mention winners Savannah Moe and Jaelyn Justesen.
“Sherman athletics has provided me a home and family that I’m proud to be a part of,” Reed said. “When I put that uniform on, it has been a complete honor every time. It reminded me of the foundation to get me where I am today.”
Sherman head coach Karissa Gorham, a former all-league high school volleyball athlete and collegiate volleyball player, feels that Reed has the skill set, leadership qualities and demeanor to have success at the next level.
On the court, Reed is not afraid to dive for loose balls from her libero position, but she can play multiple positions and excel, especially with her strong, consistent serving attributes.
“Shelby is such a hard worker, dynamic and athletic,” Gorham said. “She has played volleyball for years and is a very smart player. She can read hitters and anticipate where the ball is going before anyone hits it. That was pretty much a driving factor for having her as our libero. Her quick reactions and smooth passes, I feel, were a huge part of our success.”
In terms of Reed’s will and drive, she gives all the credit to her parents, Bert and Marsha Benson.
They are her biggest influences in life, because Marsha and Bert worked hard to get Reed to where she is and never gave up on her or her dreams, while both Tracy and Jennifer Reed pushed her to be better and more well-rounded.
“The role that they play is indescribable,” Reed said. “From making sure I got to practice early and went to bed early, just to make sure I was the best for my games. None of this would be possible without the support from my mom and dad. They have dedicated countless hours and miles to help me accomplish my dreams and goals for volleyball. My family is my biggest support system and they will always have my back no matter what comes my way.”
Just making it past the initial tryout phase and working her way up the depth chart is enough for Marsha, but she knows her daughter expects much more out of herself over the next few years.
“I have always taught my kids that a goal without a plan is just a dream,” Marsha said. “Watching her not only set her goals to play at this level, but achieve what she set out to do years ago, brings a tear to my eye.”
Reed wants to show what the 1A classification is all about, so there is no extra burden or pressure to make her name known.
She plans to keep her nose to the grindstone and let her work ethic be her voice.
It carried her from being an unknown quantity to an all-league winner.
“My goals for college are on being a great student and athlete, which are the same as my goals through high school,” Reed said. “In order to play hard, you have to work hard.”