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WDC grad feels at home at BSU


Reprinted with permission from Bemidji State University Magazine, an alumni pubication.

by Cindy Serratore

Rachel Craig, co-captain of the Bemidji State University volleyball team, had her heart set on BSU even before she was offered a partial athletic scholarship and a chance to compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).

“I always wanted to go to college close to home because I’m kind of a homebody,” said the junior from Wadena, “so Bemidji was always at the top of my list. For me, volleyball was always a bonus.”

Even so, volleyball has been a defining experience for Craig, a 6-foot-tall middle blocker.

On June 17, 2010, she was in the middle of a preseason high school game in Bemidji when the Wadena-Deer Creek fans started getting calls that a tornado had struck their town. It leveled 20 city blocks. “We had to play in the elementary school and people sat in folding chairs. It was amazing, and that was when I really started loving volleyball.” 

That spring, Craig and two of her Wadena-Deer Creek High School teammates – Kelsi Crawford and Courtney Volkmann – signed with the Beavers, so the threesome continues to play together. A 4.0 high school student, Craig received an athletic scholarship plus three BSU academic scholarships.

“Those funds have helped out a lot because I’m not super pressured to get a job during the season,” said Craig, who also works a summer job and gets help from her parents.

She plans to graduate in 2015 with a degree in business administration. So far, she has enjoyed her liberal arts electives as well, including a course in fiction writing and a dance class she took with teammates. This year, she looks forward to a two –week environmental studies program in Hawaii and, of course, the chance to improve her skills on the court.

“She’s just one of the hardest workers on our team,” said Wayne Chadwick, BSU head volleyball coach. “The NSIC is the best conference in the country for volleyball, and she’s proved that she’s more than capable of playing at this level.”

Chadwick said he hopes to increase scholarship funding for volleyball so he can recruit more players like Craig and elevate the team’s competitiveness. BSU carries nearly six volleyball scholarships, while the NSIC limit is eight.

Craig finished her sophomore year with a 4.0 CPA and was named the BSU Female Athlete of the Year. 

“I’m really happy I’m here,” she said.

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A 2011 graduate, Rachel was a three-sport athlete at Wadena-Deer Creek High School participating in volleyball, basketball and track & field. As mentioned in the article, Rachel was a 4.0 student at WDC, where she was involved in National Honor Society, Choir, Big Buddy program, and served as a peer mentor. She is the daughter of Michael and Marian Craig of Wadena.