Journey Nearing End for Belita Salters
Nov. 19, 2008
Written by Emily Steele, South Carolina Media Relations student assistant
As redshirt senior Belita Salters finishes her final season at South Carolina, she takes a look back at the journey that got her here. Although the ride was bumpy sometimes, Salters remained strong to prove her doubters wrong.
Being able to finish, Salters says is one of her greatest achievements. "Coming from where I'm from, a little town in Scranton, a lot of people doubt you and say that you won't make it at South Carolina. But I'll be done in December on the 15th at 3:30 pm. I made it through five years, and I can go through this again if I had to."
Before coming to South Carolina, Salters was a four-year letter-winner in volleyball, basketball and track and field for her Lake City High School. She was named her school's Most Valuable Player for volleyball in 2003 and 2004. But she had more of an impact in track, winning four-state triple-jump titles and one hurdles crown.
After high school, several different universities recruited Salters for track, but South Carolina offered her a volleyball scholarship, which was where her heart led her.
The middle blocker says, "South Carolina was actually the only school recruiting me for volleyball, but they were recruiting me for track as well. And I narrowed it down to volleyball because it was my favorite sport. South Carolina was my main choice because it was close to home and I didn't want to go too far away. I felt it was a distance where I could go home if I wanted to and actually stay on campus."
Although Salters was redshirted her freshman year, she soon made a name for herself when she played in 37 games for the Gamecocks and finished with a total 51 blocks in her debut season. Salters also had to adjust to just playing one sport and having to get back in shape after the off-season.
"It's totally different," Salters say. "In high school, you go to class then straight to practice. At college, you have to manage your time the whole day and make your schedule around practice. Also in high school, your body stays in shape all year. In college you have to prepare for the new season. It was easier and fun being able to go the next sport and then the next sport and staying in shape."
Over her next three years in Columbia, Salters transitioned into a leadership role for the Gamecocks. She also had to transition into different coaching styles.
"It's been a very long journey. My redshirt freshman year having Kim Hudson then my freshman and sophomore year having Nancy and Ben Somera and finally my junior and senior years, I just had Ben. It's just been an experience dealing with the different coaches," says Salters.
Now as a senior, Salters is reflective of her time here at South Carolina and the people that came along with it. She says that she is going to miss her teammates a lot and that they are like a family unit as well as her main inspiration.
"There is so much to say about playing for USC. I never knew I'd meet so many new friends, and it was just a totally different experience here than it was in high school. It's a well-known, Division I school, and it is just so amazing to hear people say that you made it to college, you made it to USC!"
After Salters graduates, she hopes to continue to play volleyball in Puerto Rico or maybe in Europe. But she says that she will miss the daily routine at USC and is a little fearful of going into the real world. And even though her years as a Gamecock flew by, she wants Carolina fans to remember her style of play.
"I want them to remember that I'm loud and always bouncing off walls." Salters says, "People can tell that if something is frustrating me, it is going to be okay because I am a good competitor."