High School Sports

Lady Bearcats' Criminger signs with Spartanburg Methodist

Rock Hill High School's Tori Criminger isn't going to Spartanburg Methodist College to improve her grades.

Criminger graduated with a 3.9 grade-point average and easily qualified to attend a four-year school.

She's going to the two-year school to get adjusted to college life, with hopes of improving her volleyball skills and transferring to a four-year school where she can play and finish her education.

Criminger signed her scholarship papers Thursday and put them in the mail. She realizes whatever the future holds is in her hands.

"I went there to Discovery Day, which is like an orientation, with a friend,'' said Criminger, the daughter of Lori Criminger. "While I was there, I went to an open gym and tried out for the volleyball team.

"The coach, Brittany Harry, and the AD told me they wanted me to come and play for them. I was talking with another school, but I knew after visiting that Spartanburg Methodist was where I wanted to be. Coach Harry said I'll get plenty of playing time, that I'll be a starter.''

Criminger is 5-foot-11 and plays middle hitter. She started three years for the Lady Bearcats and made the All-Region 3-AAAA team twice and was named Region Player of the Year in the fall.

She played other sports in middle school, but liked volleyball so much that she gave them up to concentrate on her "passion.'' For the last four years, Criminger played club ball on a team coached by Julie McGee, York's volleyball coach and a former RHHS assistant.

"I wanted to stick with just volleyball,'' Criminger said. "It helped me work harder on my grades. I knew I had to do well in school if I wanted to play.

"And I wanted to get a job and save money for college. Between working, playing volleyball and doing school work, I didn't have time for anything else.''

Criminger worked briefly at a local movie theater, but for the last year and a half has been an after-hours phone operator for Comporium Communications.

She hasn't decided on a major, saying she'll take the next two years in making a choice, but is leaning toward a sports-related/secondary education degree so she can coach.

"Tori could have gone to a four-year school, but I talked to the coach at Spartanburg Methodist and we felt this was the best thing for her,'' Rock Hill coach Cindy Elder said. "Coach Harry said Tori could end up getting an offer from a bigger school after two years there. That's what the game plan is.

"We're really going to miss her.''