Athlete of the Week: Kirby Smith


Kirby Smith readies herself to receive during a match against UAB earlier this season. The senior from Plano, TX has enjoyed a standout career at UTSA, appearing in 87 matches, 320 sets and registering 805 careers as of the time of publication. Dustin Vickers/The Paisano

Jada Thomas, Staff Writer

Senior Kirby Smith is no stranger to the hectic life of a student athlete, considering she’s spent her whole career at UTSA as a volleyball player. Ever since getting to be a starter as a Freshman, she’s had to learn how to stay on top of her grades while also being a collegiate athlete. 

“I have to schedule out practice time, game time and time for personal relationships outside volleyball and school,” Smith said, “so time management is a big thing.” 

Scheduling out her time throughout the season is necessary given how packed Smith’s daily life is. With her day’s already being full of her duties both as an athlete and a student, she has to wake up at the crack of dawn to be able to fit homework on top of it all. 

“Typically two days out of the week I’ll go observe at 8:30 in the morning,” Smith said. “Two days out of the week I also have weights at 1:30 p.m., then we have practice from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sometimes we have meetings before or after practice, so we’ll be in there until about 6:30 p.m. And then game days are on Fridays and Saturdays. 

The observations that Smith has to complete at the beginning of her day are a requirement for one of the classes she has to take for her major. She goes off campus to a grade school to observe a classroom and it’s teacher. 

“My major is in the teaching side of kinesiology,” Smith said. “So it’s in physical education, and my secondary teaching field is science.”

Kirby Smith spikes the ball during a game against UAB. Smith has tallied 154.5 points this season for UTSA. Dustin Vickers/The Paisano

When Smith is not focused on school or volleyball, and on the off chance that she can find the time, there’s various things she likes to do as leisure activities. 

“I like to shop,” Smith said, “and my boyfriend got me interested in hunting. So normally on my off time I’ll either go hunting or play golf”

Smith’s career as a college volleyball player has been frantic to say the least, but prior to coming to play for UTSA, she was part of a club volleyball team in her hometown, where her days were considerably less busy. 

“I played for a club called Mad Frog, and those were the best times of my life honestly,” Smith said. “You only practice two days out of the week, then you got to go to play in a tournament on the weekends.

After years of juggling volleyball, school and her personal life, and with the task only getting more demanding as she’s played throughout college, there have been times when things have gotten rough, and Smith has had to remind herself why she keeps playing. 

“This is something I love to do,” Smith said, “So I don’t worry about so many of the other little things that go with it and just focus on having fun. It’s a big thing I’ve wavered with but it’s something I need to keep constant.”