COLUMBUS — Regi Zakrzewski wasn’t ready to pick between volleyball and tennis.
So she decided to play both in college.
The Columbus High senior signed a letter of intent Tuesday to play for the College of Saint Mary in Omaha.
“As soon as volleyball was over I said I want to keep playing. And I love tennis and wanted to do two sports,” she said. “If I could’ve done three sports, I would’ve.”
Her coaches at the next level are willing to let her give it a shot.
“I asked (the coaches) if I could and they said yes. It worked out perfectly,” she said.
With Saint Mary offering a nursing program, the school had everything Zakrzewski was looking for.
“It’s a nursing school, I can roll right into it without transferring and they have sports,” she said. “So I got both in one.”
Zakrzewski knows being a two-sport athlete in college as well as a full-time nursing student will be a challenge, but she’s already preparing to make life a little easier.
Her first year in college will be all general elective classes and she’s taking some courses through Central Community College this year to knock some of those out.
“That way I can fill my schedule with art classes or something,” she said.
Dave Licari, who coaches her in both basketball and tennis at CHS, knows she’ll be able to handle it.
“Besides her abilities, her attitude and demeanor are really going to help her,” he said.
Jeri Otten, the head volleyball coach at CHS, agrees.
“She’s pretty even-keeled,” Otten said. “Her demeanor on the court is like her demeanor in life. She’s pretty laid-back, but still competitive, so she has the drive to keep the focus on and off the court.”
As the volleyball team’s libero this season, Zakrzewski racked up 427 digs, ranking 13th in Class B, according to MaxPreps.com, and more than twice as many as the next closest on the team. Her 5.2 digs per set were tied for sixth in Class B.
Otten describes her play on the court with one word — scrappy.
“I think anyone that has come and seen her play knows that she’s going to refuse to let the ball drop,” she said. “You can’t really ask for a better attitude in a libero.”
Zakrzewski enjoys the challenge of trying to take opponents' best players out of the match.
“If we’re playing a good hitter, I don’t want them to score at all. I have the drive to get everything on the floor,” she said.
Her athleticism allows her to do that, according to Otten.
As a junior on the tennis court, Zakrzewski had one of the best doubles seasons in school history, setting the CHS record for most wins by a No. 1 doubles team with 34 while playing alongside Rachel Klatt.
Her calmness is a great benefit on the court, Licari said.
“Things don’t affect her very much,” the coach said. “In tennis, if you let it, it will get into your head big time.”
Zakrzewski likes the individual aspects of the sport.
“It’s a ‘me’ sport. I can just focus on myself and getting myself through the ups and downs,” she said.
This season, Licari anticipates Zakrzewski moving to No. 1 singles. Her versatility is something that should help her in college.
But for now, she’s going to enjoy the rest of her high school career.
“I’m going to have fun while it lasts,” she said.