Signed, sealed, delivered: Senior Andrea Campos-Ralston signs letter of intent, commits to play Division I volleyball

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Photo credit: Julia Wanger

Senior Andrea Campos-Ralston signs her National Letter of Intent to play Division I volleyball at Villanova University. In order to earn this opportunity, Campos said she had to make sacrifices but believes volleyball has helped her learn how to be a leader. She is "excited" to continue to cultivate her love for the sport.

With her longtime coach Lainey Gera and her parents at her side, Andrea Campos-Ralston signed her National Letter of Intent on Monday, Nov. 11. From the amphitheater’s stands, other Archer students watched and filmed the event. Archer Athletics Director Kim Smith invited the community to witness the signing of the letter, which commits senior Campos to play Division I volleyball at Villanova University next year.

“[The letter] is kind of tying the knot,” Campos-Ralston said. “I was very surprised with how many people actually showed up. I didn’t really know how big it was going to be. But I felt very grateful and thankful to have this Archer community and to have so many people show up and support me.”

In order to earn her invitation to Villanova, Campos-Ralston had to make many “sacrifices,” but believes that it was worth it to get the opportunity to do what she loves.

“I was happy making the sacrifices,” Campos-Ralston said.  “But a lot of hard work went into it, and it was tough at times. I had to learn how to become a leader.”

Head of School Elizabeth English expressed gratitude for Andrea’s leadership on the day of the signing.

“You brought kindness, you brought collaboration, you brought empathy,” English said to Campos-Ralston. “Thank you for playing for Archer. Your leadership has taken us a long way this season.”

Although Campos-Ralston has worked hard in volleyball, earning a sports scholarship was never her explicit goal.

“It was never a dream I had,” Campos-Ralston said. “I didn’t really know about those opportunities. So, I think it’s really cool that I got to be there, signing something … that gets me into college. I’m excited.”

However, Campos-Ralston has always had a “commitment” to the sport and her team.

“I think the thing that really connected me to volleyball was … sacrificing my body for the ball. Even though it’s just a ball, it’s like putting all of your effort into one point, to make sure the ball doesn’t touch the ground,” Campos-Ralston said. “I’ve jumped over bleachers and chairs and into the stands. But it’s all worth it because it’s trying to keep that ball up for my team.”

Gera, Andrea’s longtime coach, also spoke to Campos-Ralston’s hard work on the day of the signing.

“Knowing that we found a home for her [at Archer], and in return she’s playing Division I volleyball, is so cool,” Gera said. “To be a part of her journey has been so great, and she deserves this more than anyone I can really think of.”

Although Campos-Ralston is now “excited” to start playing for Villanova, she described first being accepted in February as “overwhelming.”

“It was a lot for an eleventh grader to take, being accepted to college,” she said. “I know it sounds like a dream to many people, but it was pretty overwhelming in the moment.”

Since then, Campos-Ralston has visited the school and is excited to see what comes next fall.

“I visited the campus again and met the girls [on the team],” Campos-Ralston said. “I’m really happy with my choice. I know it’s the best place for me.”

Campos-Ralston is proud of her accomplishment and hopes to continue to grow at Villanova next year.

“If I want to achieve any kind of greatness or accomplishments, I have to work for it,” Campos-Ralston said. “For me to know it’s all going to be worth it in the end and to really work hard [is important.] You earn your spot, but you have to maintain it.”

Isabella Silvers