COLUMBUS — Columbus High’s Alyssa Curry and Alyssa Downs have a lot in common.
Other than sharing a first name and high school, the pair were named academic all-conference and both will be playing sports at the next level.
Curry and Downs signed their letters of intent Friday in the Columbus High library. Curry will play softball at Nebraska Wesleyan and Downs will pole vault at the University of Sioux Falls.
“I thought they were a good fit academically and athletically,” Downs said of her university selection. “I also like that they were Division II.”
Downs went to a camp this summer at Sioux Falls, and the way she was welcomed helped her make her choice. She started pole vaulting in fifth grade and tried to keep up with her sisters in the sport.
Downs was a state runner-up this spring.
“It was obvious that she was very coachable and had a lot of potential. The thing that really got us excited about Alyssa in the recruiting process is the type of person she is,” Sioux Falls head coach Reid Ehrisman said. “The No. 1 thing that we look for when we bring someone into the program is the fit they are for our program values, which consist of the Christian aspect, team community and academics, and Alyssa fits these all.”
Downs still has her senior season of track ahead of her and is looking for an elusive state title.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” she said.
Curry will lace up for the Prairie Wolves under head coach Mary Yori, sister of Nebraska head women’s basketball coach Connie Yori.
“I like the academic aspect of Wesleyan, and the opportunity to play softball, it really stuck and sealed the deal,” Curry said.
Columbus High head coach Paul Braun touted Curry’s leadership on a deep Discoverer softball team that finished 21-14 earlier this fall.
“Alyssa’s been a very good leader for us ever since she was a freshman,” Braun said. “She’s done a great job with leadership and now that she got older she’s taught the younger kids how to give effort in practice.”
Curry was named defensive player of the year by her team and an all-conference player.
“I like to think that I’m quicker to get to the ball,” Curry said. “It means a lot that I was recognized, but at the same time, it is a team sport and I wouldn’t be able to do that without my teammates.”