Truckee’s Callan Finney bolts for Humboldt |

Truckee’s Callan Finney bolts for Humboldt

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun file photoCallan Finney of Truckee, shown during the 2008 state championship match against Yerington, left this month for Humboldt State, where she received a scholarship to play volleyball.

TRUCKEE ” After powering through her high school unit requirements, there really was no need for Truckee volleyball standout Callan Finney to stick around.

So she didn’t.

The three-year varsity starter and two-time All-State honoree for the Wolverines left her hometown this month to join the Humboldt State Lumberjacks of the Division 2 California Collegiate Athletic Association.

“I think it will help her tremendously,” Humboldt Volleyball Coach Sue Woodstra said of Finney’s decision to begin her college education, and athletic career, early. “She’ll certainly have a huge step up (on other freshmen) in that respect.”

For one, Woodstra said, Finney ” who received an athletic scholarship ” will have plenty of time to settle in to her new environment in Arcata and get a full taste of college life, as opposed to scrapping to register for classes in the fall before immediately rushing into volleyball season.

She’ll also have time to get acquainted with her new teammates while benefiting from the Lumberjacks’ offseason training program, the coach said.

Humboldt’s spring semester began this week, and Finney already received a crash course on crashing classes. Volleyball practice starts next week.

“I think she’s going to do a fantastic job up there,” said Ray Batalon, assistant volleyball coach at University of Nevada, Reno and director of the Sierra Nevada Volleyball Club, for which Finney once played. “Her volleyball skills and athleticism should be a perfect match for Humboldt.”

The Wolverines will miss Finney’s skills greatly, as the 5-foot-11 outside hitter and co-team captain tallied 203 kills, 56 service aces and 176 digs her senior season. She averaged three kills per game and helped lead the Wolverines to back-to-back 3A state runner-up finishes.

“She’s an amazing all-around player,” said Nicole Annaloro, head coach of the Wolverines. “She’s known for her hitting ability. She’s smart, she’s a terrific defensive player and she’s also a great passer.”

And she could bring out the best in her teammates without hollering a word.

“Callan led by example; she was a quiet leader on the court. She was well respected and a hard worker,” said Annaloro, a native of Arcata.

Woodstra, a former USA National player who served as an assistant coach of the U.S women’s volleyball team at the 2008 Summer Olympics, said Finney is a natural fit in part because of the Lumberjacks’ need to add depth at the outside hitter position. The coach said Finney will have an equal opportunity as a freshman to earn a spot in the starting lineup.

“She has to work her way in. If you’re on the team, you’re on the team; there’s no class system here,” Woodstra said. “Whoever earns playing time will be on the court.”

Whether starting or coming off the bench her freshman season, Finney is sure to square off against former Truckee teammate Melanie Lashbrook, who will enter her sophomore season at California State University Monterey Bay, as well as North Tahoe senior Kayla Baumgardner, who will play at Chico State. Both schools are members of the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

Annaloro is confident Finney will do just fine at the next level: “She’s an ideal player because of her athletic ability, attitude, drive, and her academic side. She’s got the whole package.”

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