By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Sheronda Pickering, 19, a 6 foot 2 middle blocker, is a first semester freshman and a BVI National Team member, has helped the Hillsborough Community College Lady Hawks to the 2015 Sun Coast Conference Volleyball title in Florida. The Lady Hawks posted a 7-1 mark as the top team in Florida Jr. Colleges.
“In the beginning it was challenging,” Pickering said. “The pace at which they play was much quicker than back home so I was benched in the first half of the season but I would come in for a few pints and get our team some blocks and momentum. However, later on our sophomore middle got hurt so I got the starting position for the remainder of the season. I got a lot of blocks in our games but I struggled a bit offensive again with the pace.”
Pickering’s trek to the Lady Hawks’ roster began a few years pack. Kris Grunwald a volleyball coach at Arkansas at the time visited the BVI in collaboration with Jackie Weekes for a camp where he met her. Pickering said she kept in kept in contact with him and even though she wasn’t able to become a part of his program, he recommended Hillsborough Community College.
“In the beginning it was different in terms of the pace but even though you’re accustomed to the coach always yelling at you and demanding more of you here, you get that even from your teammates and that’s a bit new for me,” Pickering explained. “The bus rides traveling for long hours before you jump off to play that was also new. Some bus rides would be as short as an hours others as long as eight hours.”
In posting their 7-1 record, the Lady Hawks lost at home to conference rivals Polk in their first match up, 25-22, 12-25, 17-25, 25-23 and 15-8.
“My best games was against Polk and the first time we played them we lost in five sets at home so when we were given a second opportunity to play against them our team dominated them in three sets, 25-15, 27-25 and 25-18,” noted the hospitality management major “I closed the second set with two block and finished the third set with another block to help us win.”
The Stoutt High School product said starting the season from mid August to October and school starting around the same time has been a bit of a challenge to balance both.
“Since we won our conference we are off to the state tournament this weekend in Pensacola where we’ll compete against other conference champs to be the best team in Florida and winning state,” she said “First and second place will advance to nationals where you’ll be able to compete to be the best team in the nation. As for school I’m just working hard and see this semester through.”