Former West Fargo Packer is a two-sport star
In addition to bringing you regular Packer sports coverage we like to periodically check in with Packers of the past that are still in the game and playing college sports. This week we catch up with Ali Edwards, WFHS class of 2006, now a member of the Jamestown College volleyball and womens basketball teams.
Edwards was named first team all-state her senior year at West Fargo for the Packer girls basketball team that won the EDC regular season championship and finished second at the conference tournament. She teamed up that year with fellow regulars Andrea Hummel (now playing at Valley City State University), Mary Michael Vance (now playing at College of St. Katherine), Tiffany Gjestvang and Jill Kussatz.
Each year Edwards, now a junior, joins the Jimmies basketball team a few games into the season in order to finish her commitment with the volleyball team. This year she helped the Jamestown College netters to first in their conference and to come oh-so-close to making nationals. She was named to the all-Dakota Athletic Conference first team this season.
Last week Edwards, a starting guard, scored a career-high 22 points for the Jimmies in a win over Minot State University.
Here are 10 questions with Ali Edwards:
Question: Even though you're only a couple hours away, what do you miss most about West Fargo?
Answer: I guess I just miss my high school friends. That high school atmosphere was fun. I love college, but you always miss high school when you're done. I have family in Fargo and stuff, but it's kind of different being away from there. High school sports are always different than college too, a little more laid back.
Q: Do you still keep in touch with any of your former Packer teammates?
A: Yes, I have lots of old friends, but I don't keep in touch quite as well as I used to. Jill Kussatz was one of my best friends, so I talk to her a lot. I play against Andrea now and see her every once in awhile too. Mostly, though, I keep in touch through the Internet and that kind of stuff. I'm still doing camps when I come back and see the coaches.
Q: How did your freshman year go at Jamestown a couple years ago?
A: I really liked it. The coaches and stuff were really great. It was a big change and everything, but everyone was really great. I really enjoy playing two sports. School is kind of hard I guess, but everything has been going really well.
Q: What was it like playing for the first time in college? Did you have to wait awhile since you miss some basketball due to volleyball?
A: Yes, they overlap, and I miss a few games each year. I came in and had three practices before Thanksgiving that year, and we had a tournament. I came into that first game with only a few practices, so I was really nervous. I didn't really have any embarrassing things happen, which is good. I was nervous and excited, and I just kind of wanted to show that I was going to play as hard as I could.
Q: What do you think drives you as a basketball player?
A: I guess I'm just really competitive. That's probably the main thing. I like sports, and I have fun when I play. It's always fun to play well. I want to win, and I want the team to do well. It runs in the family for me, I'd say. I also have an older brother [Brady at UND], and I used to play with him and his friends when I grew up. My dad [Michael] played on a basketball team in grad school, and my mom [Kay] played softball and basketball at Mayville State University, so it definitely runs in the family.
Q: Can you talk about some of the challenges you've faced since leaving West Fargo? I'm sure everyone finds at least some difficulties when they hit the real world.
A: I guess just living on your own is always different, and being away from home all the time, especially being in sports, because you can't go home whenever you want or anything. So it's been a challenge, but family-wise it isn't too difficult. My parents come to all the games. Just not having anyone to look after you to make sure you're doing your stuff. You have to make sure you get all your work done and do everything on your own. Maybe for some people it would be a problem, but I personally haven't had too much difficulty adjusting. I'm glad I'm still in college. I haven't had to go into the real world yet.
Q: What are your future plans with Jamestown basketball?
A: I would just say that I want to play hard and step it up a level and just play better in kind of every aspect. Maybe score a little bit more, get a few more rebounds, a few more steals, anything to make our team better. It would be nice to be all-conference or whatever, but it's not like I wouldn't rather go to nationals.
Q: What are your long-term goals?
A: I'm majoring in Biology and probably going to Optometry school when I'm done here.
Q: Here's a random question for you: Do you think there should be more opportunities for women in professional sports?
A: I think it would be nice to have more amateur leagues and stuff like that for people that are borderline. I've never planned on anything like that, but it would be nice to have more opportunities.
Q: What would you say to any young Packers or even young kids that aren't even Packers yet about hard work and realizing your dreams?
A: You just have to keep working hard and doing what you love. Make sure you have fun while you're doing it, because if you don't enjoy it, then maybe it's not the right thing for you.