Cullman Christian volleyball and basketball coach Jason White describes Yancey York as “the epitome of the type of player you want.” According to him, the senior has been coachable, extremely determined and hated losing with a passion.
Good thing for the Lady Lion, York’s squads didn’t do much losing throughout her prep career, claiming three state basketball championships and reaching the state volleyball final once over the last four years.
Though her time at the relatively tiny Christian school will soon come to a close, York isn’t done with sports just yet. On Thursday morning, the two-sport standout signed a letter of intent to attend and play volleyball for Rocky Mountain College, a four-year NAIA school in Billings, Mont.
“For as small as we are of a school, we’ve had tremendous success in girls athletics,” White said. “Yancey has been a huge part of that success no question. To see her recognized at another level is huge.”
There was no shortage of supporters on hand to witness York’s big moment. She was flanked by her parents (Randal and Dena York), two teammates (Haley White and Jordan Canaday), Coach White and principal Rachel Howze as she signed on the dotted line.
“It’s crazy. I never imagined that I would get to go this far,” a beaming York said. “I’m so happy.”
York’s official visit to Rocky Mountain College marked the first time she stepped foot in Montana. She’s not quite sure how she’ll handle the far-colder conditions during the winters, but York said the campus is beautiful and made her feel right at home.
“Just the feel of it. It’s smaller, like the smaller schools I’ve always been to,” the senior said. “And everybody felt like family even though I had just met them.”
At 5-foot-9, York has grown accustomed to being the tallest player on the volleyball or basketball court while suiting up for Cullman Christian. When she met a few of her future Battlin’ Bear teammates, however, she actually found herself looking up at other girls — and didn’t mind it one bit.
Eleven of Rocky Mountain College’s 18 players on the roster are at least 5-foot-11 with two women topping out at 6-foot-3.
“I finally met some tall people. I was like, ‘I feel short,’” York said with a laugh. “It was a lot different.”
The Bears’ volleyball program is one year removed from its best season in school history. The team compiled a 30-5 record in 2011, winning the Frontier Conference Championship and advancing to the NAIA National Tournament for a second straight season.
Coach Laurie Kelly is thrilled to add an exceptional player and student like York to her volleyball team.
“Yancey has the determination to take her game to the next level,” she said in a press release. “We have a great feeder program at Rocky, and this is the first aviation major we have had. We are excited that she chose volleyball and will be a great addition as a student-athlete at Rocky Mountain College.”
After taking a year off to focus on basketball and her aviation aspirations, York returned to the Lions’ volleyball squad for her senior campaign, teaming up with Haley White to lead the team to a state runner-up result. York was named to the All-State Tournament Team and selected to participate in the state’s all-star game.
“Long before I knew her, then in the last four years, she’s been one of those kids that if she decides she’s going to do it, it’s going to happen,” Coach White said. “She’s actually become a friend as much of a kid to coach. I’m really proud. I can’t wait to see her on the court next year.”
As talented as she is at volleyball, York has been just as solid on the basketball court. There’s actually still a chance she could play both sports for the Bears, who recently requested game tape and are contemplating her inclusion on the women’s basketball team, too.
Rocky Mountain College’s hoops program certainly could benefit from the addition of a do-it-all player like York, who averaged a double-double in her final season. The senior had a sensational stat-line in her team’s title-tilt triumph, racking up 21 points, 15 rebounds and seven steals. York concluded her prep career with a whopping total of 915 career rebounds.
More than a trio of championships and one runner-up finish apiece in both sports, York said she’ll never forget the companionship and camaraderie she shared with her teammates at Cullman Christian.
“They’re like my family,” she said. “I just feel so close to my team.”
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at email@example.com.