Dual sport athlete McHenry shines

Robert Burkett

Someone once wrote that, “for all things there is a season.” In the case of one of Washburn’s newest athletes, the season never really ends.

Sami McHenry is a redshirt freshman, currently serving as a defensive specialist for the Washburn Lady Blues volleyball team. When the volleyball season begins to draw near an end, another facet of McHenry’s athletic career begins to kick into gear as she assumes the role of newcomer to the Lady Blues basketball team under the direction of her father, head coach Ron McHenry.

The transition is one that is new for the freshman at the collegiate level but yet is familiar for a variety of reasons.

“I’ve honestly done this all my life,” said Sami McHenry. “My parents have always given me a variety of different things to do so I feel like that has helped prepare me for taking everything that comes at me.”

In the case of her mindset, some find her single-minded determination to be a success at Washburn all too familiar.

“Her sister, Dani [McHenry Schmidt] was a great two-sport athlete also at Washburn,” said Chris Herron, Washburn head volleyball coach. “So I think it’s just something in the McHenry D.N.A.”

In fact, when she chose to come to Washburn Sami McHenry contemplated if she wanted to pursue both sports and sought counsel from her sister.

“[Dani] just told me to do what I wanted but to not regret anything later so I decided to go for it,” said Sami McHenry.

While she has prior experience as a multi-sport athlete in high school, McHenry has still had to make the adjustments that come with moving to the next level and wanting to be successful in both sports.

“I’ve had to study a lot more with picking up two [coaching] systems and get myself prepared for both sports,” said Sami McHenry. “I also have to get myself into running shape because conditioning for both sports is different so it’s a little bit of an adjustment.”

As for basketball, coach McHenry looks forward to the experience which he had similarly with his older daughter, Dani (McHenry) Schmidt, current Washburn assistant volleyball coach.

“With the life of a coach you don’t get to see your family as much as you’d like sometimes,” said Ron McHenry. “So a little selfishly, I really look forward to spending more time with her as she goes through school here.”

At the same time though, coach McHenry appreciates the task before his daughter as she assumes the role of player on his team.

“She really does face a pretty massive learning curve,” said Ron McHenry. “Playing at this level is a whole other experience, especially with having to play catch up being a month behind [of her teammates].”