Krysten Garrison

Krysten Garrison, a senior volleyball player, named as the Sunshine State Conference's Setter of the Week during the month of November.

Eckerd’s student athletes have a drive and passion that continues to show itself at every opportunity. From impressive academics to state awards, their achievements have shone brightly as their hard work gets recognized.

One of the many athletes that have been working hard is Krysten Garrison, a senior volleyball player at Eckerd. 

Garrison has worked to become a highly awarded volleyball player, including when she won Most Valuable Player last year at Eckerd and not one but two Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Setter of the Week awards during the weeks of Oct. 4 and Nov. 8. 

Before she switched to volleyball, though, she was dedicated to a slightly different sport, and almost chose to go to college for basketball instead. Growing up in Piedmont, Missouri, she originally was a basketball player and had played the sport from early middle school to the end of high school.

“I grew up watching my sister play [volleyball] on club teams in the local area and so I played basketball for a while and I saw my sister playing so I switched to volleyball and started on club teams like her,” Garrison said.

She continued to play volleyball from her seventh grade year onward, and has been playing from junior high through her current college experience. Garrison was met with some difficulties in her success and during her junior year of high school she tore her rotator cuff in her shoulder.

As she rested and waited for her arm to heal, she ended up tearing her ACL only a month after her first original injury, making her ineligible to play during her senior year of volleyball. These setbacks, however, did not deter Garrison from competing at the collegiate level.

She was offered more than five scholarships from different schools that wanted her to play on their volleyball teams. After graduating from Dexter High School in 2018, she accepted a full ride athletic scholarship to play volleyball for New Mexico State University.

While playing volleyball at New Mexico State, her team won both conference titles for the two years she was there and the team got to play in the national tournament.

“The first round we played BYU in Oregon, both years, and those are really big, like top 25 volleyball schools. So just playing in that atmosphere, like actually playing the team and almost beating them, definitely a highlight,” Garrison said.

Although one of her favorite volleyball memories was on a different team, Garrison has made herself at home with the Tritons. She transferred from New Mexico State’s NCAA Division I school to join Eckerd’s Division II team in the fall of 2020 for a variety of reasons, one of which being Eckerd’s proximity to the beach. 

Nicki Bechtold, a junior on Eckerd’s volleyball team and close friend of Garrison, described the biggest contributions that Garrison has brought to the team for the last two seasons.

“I think she’s very consistent, like with her energy and skill level. She’s also a really big leader on our team,” Bechtold said.

For example, one of Garrison’s other accomplishments that has garnered attention was being named for the third team All-Sunshine State Conference volleyball team this year.

When asked to describe one of her favorite things about her teammate, Bechtold said she admires Garrison’s humility, which is best demonstrated by Garrison’s lack of celebration when the team scores points.

“With Krysten, she keeps to herself and doesn’t really celebrate after [we make] points. One day after we played Embry Riddle I think she got a block or something and she actually celebrated and it was very big for us.”

When she is not playing volleyball, Garrison enjoys hanging out with her friends at the beach, shopping, and watching movies. While at Eckerd she is majoring in communications and hopes to attend law school in the future. She will be finishing her major next spring and graduating after an extra semester to make up for her lost season of volleyball due to COVID.

“Volleyball has been my entire life since seventh grade. It has given me the opportunity to travel and play all across the United States and meet amazing people. It also has gotten me a full athletic scholarship to college. So it means everything to me, I can’t imagine where I would be without it,” Garrison said.

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