Sophomore transitions to Hill life

Out of California, by way of Italy, through Switzerland, via Iowa, and breezing by a few other pit stops, Florida A&M University’s newest volleyball player has landed in Tallahassee.

Marrita Royster-Crockett transferred to FAMU from Florida State University and has had a huge affect on the volleyball team.

As some of the star seniors prepared to play their last games, coach Tony Trifonov said the 18-year-old should shoulder more responsibility during her remaining years with the team.

“We want her to step up to the plate in a leadership role,” Trifonov said.

Judging from her stats alone, Royster-Crockett has shown she has the skill to lead her teammates. She made the all-conference first team along with three other teammates.

Royster-Crockett is happy with her decision to transfer.

As far as volleyball is concerned, Royster-Crockett enjoys the professional atmosphere at FAMU.

“You do things because you want to,” Royster-Crockett said. “You’re not treated like a baby.”

FAMU as a whole has been pleasing to Royster-Crockett.

“Everyone is really involved with making the school better, especially in athletics,” Royster-Crockett said. “Everyone’s humble.”

Despite her move, some of her former teammates still support her by attending her new team’s games.

“We miss her a lot,” said Makini Thompson, the outside hitter for FSU’s volleyball team. “She’s really fun, enthusiastic, and full of energy.”

Royster-Crockett announced her transfer in the spring of 2006 because of conflicts with the head coach at FSU.

“The head coach and I didn’t see eye to eye,” Crockett said.

Her mother’s role as an FSU assistant coach persuaded her to play there because she dreamed of being coached by her mother. When Rita Buck-Crockett left her position, things became awkward between Royster-Crockett and the head coach.

“She wasn’t as happy there as she thought she would want to be,” Buck-Crockett said. Royster-Crockett said the interaction with her teammates is really good because they accept one another for who they are as individuals.

“The perfect place for her is Florida A&M,” Buck-Crockett said. “It suits her because it is international. She’s very comfortable in the situation that she’s in and I think its great because she gets to learn all the different cultures, including African-American, which she has never really experienced.”

With teammates from Bulgaria, Peru, Ecuador, Germany and Serbia, Royster-Crockett adds to the diversity.

Royster-Crockett was inspired to play volleyball by her two-time Olympian mother. Her mother, who played professional volleyball for the majority of her daughter’s childhood, took Royster-Crockett with her wherever she traveled. Her travels included Switzerland, Germany and Italy.

Although volleyball is a bond between mother and daughter, they are close in all aspects of life.

“She’s my best friend, and hopefully I’m her best friend,” Buck-Crockett said. “I guess our relationship is as close as it is because I don’t treat her as a child. I look at her as an equal.”

Even though volleyball consumes the majority of her time now, she does not feel playing volleyball headlines her life.

“I just think that it is a part of my life, not necessarily the pinnacle,” Royster-Crockett said.

When she’s not practicing, at a game or when she’s not on the road, Royster-Crockett coaches a group of young girls at the North Florida Volleyball club.

She said that she took the opportunity because it was a great way of incorporating volleyball with her passion of being a role model.

“I want to set a good example not just in volleyball, but also in life,” Royster-Crockett said.

Royster-Crockett said that after college she would like to play in the sand as a beach volleyball player and move to the screen as a film director.

For now, Royster-Crockett remains focused on volleyball as she develops as a player and leader for next season.

The Lady Rattlers lost to the University of Florida in the first round of the NCAA volleyball tournament.