Christina Pratt, senior, is ready to finish her time at William Jewell College the same way she started it: successfully and excitedly. By this spring, Pratt will not only have earned her nursing degree, but she will also have completed her four-year career as a middle hitter on the women’s volleyball team.

Initially a student of Lincoln College Prep in Kansas City, Mo., Pratt was recruited by her current coaches during a high school tournament. By then, Pratt had been named Girls Volleyball Player of the Year and Athlete of the Year in 2010. While Pratt has enjoyed playing the sport since she began attending volleyball camps as a third-grader, it was the College’s tight-knit community that convinced her to join the Lady Cardinals.

“It’s always been a fun sport because of the people, but what I love most about this college is the really close community,” Pratt said. “All of us, my teammates and our coaches, always have each other’s best interest at heart.”

From traveling with the team and getting stuck on a bus without air-conditioning, to simply practicing with them in the gym for two hours, Pratt credits the bond she has with her teammates with helping her grow both personally and athletically.

“It’s been a unique opportunity that not everyone gets to have,” Pratt said. “My teammates taught me a lot about relying on other people and being selfless and in a way, knowing that there is always a bigger purpose than yourself.”

Alongside athletics, Pratt has also busied herself in other endeavors. Notably, she is the president of Pinky Promise, a small women’s devotional group. Even with her extra-curricular activities, Pratt is still able to excel in academics. This past August, when the American Volleyball Coaches Association honored the women for their 3.36 cumulative grade-point average with the Team Academic Award for the 2013-14 season, Pratt was one of six players to be particularly recognized with Academic All-Conference honors.

Given these accomplishments, the women are hopeful for future success. Pratt too looks ahead to a hopefully triumphant, but bittersweet final season.