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Shuford shines at Louisburg College
MULTI-SPORT STAR. Kristen Shuford excelled in softball and volleyball during her career at Nash Central High School. Shuford will graduate from Louisburg College this spring after playing volleyball for two years. (Graphic photos by Geoff Neville)
LOUISBURG -- Softball may have been Kristen Shuford’s first love, but volleyball eventually won her heart.

Shuford grew up playing fast-pitch softball in Nashville -- and she continued to enjoy the sport as part of the always-successful program at Nash Central High School.

At the same time, Shuford joined the NCHS spike squad, where she had an exceptional career under Coach Frank Poyer.

When it came time to choose what sport to compete in on the next level, Shuford didn’t hesitate as she signed a letter-of-intent to play volleyball at Louisburg College.

That was two years ago. Since then, Shuford has sparkled on the spike court and in the classroom for the Lady Hurricanes.

Last Wednesday at LC’s Taylor Center, Shuford received a pair of medals as part of the school’s annual Hurricanes Scholar-Athlete Awards Ceremony.

Shuford, now a sophomore at the two-year school, earned academic honors in each of her seasons at LC.

In order to receive a medal, student-athletes must have a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher in a given semester. Shuford was saluted for her semester work in the Spring and Fall of 2012.

“I’m very pleased because I worked hard last semester in some tough classes,’’ Shuford said. “I really wanted to keep my grade-point average up.’’

Shuford has a combined 3.9 GPA over two years at LC. She has also served as a talented libero on the Lady Hurricanes’ volleyball team -- first under Holly Mitchell and then under Colby Mangum.

“I’ve learned a lot here,’’ Shuford said. “Coach Colby has really helped me. I’m glad I decided to come here.’’

Shuford is also thrilled about the fact she chose volleyball over softball on the collegiate level.

“My mom was a volleyball player, so I guess she passed that on to me,’’ Shuford said. “I played softball earlier, and it was a lot of fun. But volleyball was something that grew on me.’’

Shuford who credits Poyer and NC Softball Coach Gary Smith with helping her develop as a person and an athlete, now has another decision to make.

In the spring, she will graduate from Louisburg College with two more years of athletic eligibility remaining.

She  hopes to continue her spike career at either nearby Barton College or Barry University in Florida.

Shuford was born in the Sunshine State before moving to North Carolina with her family at a young age.

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