Central Wyoming College athlete, Stephanie Smith, signed a letter of intent to play basketball with the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks on Monday, April 20.
Smith, originally from Mountain View, Wyo., said she hadn’t planned on going to college but it was Coach Serol Stauffenberg who gave her the opportunity to come to college and play basketball. Smith will graduate from CWC in May with an associate’s degree and will continue her education and play NCAA Division I basketball for UND. Although, she has no specific plans for what area of study she is pursuing, she said maybe something in nutrition or science.
Smith played center for CWC and made Region IX All-Defensive team this year. She stands 6-foot 6-inches and led the nation in blocks with 166 overall. Smith said she will most likely be a post player for UND; playing inside and closer to the ball.
During one of CWC’s home games the head coach from UND, Travis Brewster, visited to watch Smith play and later returned to watch her play during the Region IX tournament.
“UND really went the extra mile and showed commitment,” Coach Stauffenberg said. “You like to see this for students who truly work hard and it is rewarding to see a girl improve as much as Stephanie has in the last two years. She is the neatest kid to coach because she truly plays for the love it; it just comes naturally to her.”
Smith heard from UND’s head coach in January and visited UND’s campus.
“Everyone was really nice, positive and welcoming,” Smith said. UND’s Director of Basketball Operations, Jeri Jacobson is a CWC alumnus and former basketball player coached by Stauffenburg.
“We have a unique connection with UND,” Stauffenberg said.
Athletic Director, Steve Barlow said it is absolutely outstanding that one of CWC’s players in continuing on to play at a division one school.
“Competition at this level at CWC is outstanding and for her to move to another level is truly amazing,” Barlow said. “I’m certain as she continues to work hard she will be an asset to UND and she’ll have success.”
“I have a lot of memories here, they’ve all been enjoyable,” Smith said. “There have been a lot of blocks during games and it’s been fun traveling with the team and becoming friends with them.”