June 13, 2024

Vannessa Pawlak: from basketball to volleyball; from Logan to Price


This archived article was written by: Kayla Newman

Life has a way of never going according to plan; that can be testified by USU Eastern’s Vannessa Pawlak. She is the starting outside hitter for the volleyball team, but it’s taken a long way to get where she is today.
Starting her college career at Sothern Virginia University, she traveled there to play basketball. Pawlak played basketball throughout her childhood, winning the AAU championship during her high school years. Upon meeting Coach Brittney Lee, all she did was ask if there was anyway to be on the volleyball team, and her wish was granted. Pawlak played an intense volleyball season at SVU, not even going on the basketball route she had previously thought she was going on.
Second semester, Pawlak found herself at another unexpected destination, Logan, Utah. She left SVU to attend the main campus at USU to pursue a different major that SVU didn’t offer. Pawlak loved USU, “It was always buzzing with students. There was always something to do, always people to see. I loved how much bigger the campus was, but the downside was that it would take be about 15 minutes to walk to a class, and that was speed walking.”
Pawlak loved Logan, but what made her come to Price? All it took was a phone call. As simple as she asked Coach Lee to be on the volleyball team at SVU, was as simple as it was for Lee to ask her to be at the volleyball team at USUE. She is loving the small town, her classes and especially her volleyball team.
Growing up in Carthage, Mo., Pawlak was nothing short of a tom boy. Her favorite childhood memories are of eating frog legs, playing in dirt and making mud pies, things only a small town kid would do.
When she’s not playing volleyball or basketball, you can find Pawlak cooking. She loves to cook and she is nothing shy of amazing. She never follows a recipe, but simply makes whatever she thinks will taste good. “Never following a recipe can either turn out more amazing than you would’ve expected or into a nightmare,” she explains. Her teammates praise her for her French toast she whipped up one Sunday morning, just taking things from the apartment and throwing it in the bowl.
Pawlak lit up when asked about her favorite sport memory. She tells of her sophomore year when her basketball team made it to the district championships playing their biggest rivals. The rivalry was bitter, both teams despising the other. In the locker room, Pawlak and her team listened to “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins to pump them up for the big game. She then gave, “the best motivational speech of [her] entire life.” The whole locker room was silent and all her coach said was, “I couldn’t have said anything better myself, now let’s play.” Pawlak’s team ended up blowing their rivals out of the water, winning the district championship. She was featured in the town newspaper and was mentioned as being a key player in the game.
Pawlak is grateful for the opportunity to play at USUE and for all the amazing things that lead her where she is today. She plays an important role on the volleyball team and brings fire and energy to the court. She is happy playing for the coaches and the team. Whenever she talks about her experiences at USUE she smiles and says, “there’s no where else I’d rather be.”