Charlotte Richards was back in the air at the Mark Twain Athletic Center last weekend, pounding volleyballs in Chuck Smith Court with her mighty right arm.
Richards, the reigning Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year, recorded 33 combined kills from her outside hitting position as University of Missouri-St. Louis’ volleyball team sent Rockhurst and William Jewell on two consecutive days to move up to 9-3 this season. She now has a total of 219 kills for the Newts, who have won six straight games.
The weekend’s performance is exactly what UMSL coach Ryan Young expects from Richards, a senior from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“Offensively, she sees the pitch extremely well,” said Young. “She has a very powerful arm swing, but she can mix different offensive shots, and her vision with block and defense is really what sets her apart. She can see the free space. Some children are not as comfortable hitting certain balls, but it can hit them along the line or through or down the seam.
Richards is the focal point of the Tritons attack and one of the main reasons Young and his players believe they can compete for the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship and have a deep run in the volleyball tournament. NCAA Division II ball.
But Richards’ skills as a volleyball player are only part of what sets her apart. A supply chain management graduate and member of Pierre Laclede Honors College, Richards has also been named Academic All-GLVC three times and last season he was selected to the Academic All-American second team.
This summer, the St. Louis Supply Chain Management Professionals Council Roundtable awarded Richards its John Grant Helm Memorial Scholarship. The $ 1,000 scholarship is awarded annually to a student focusing on a supply chain program at a local university who demonstrates leadership qualities, community engagement and academic achievement.
“If she wasn’t a student-athlete, if she was just a student, we would always say, ‘Wow, she’s one of the best students we’ve had with our program,'” he said. said Mitch Millstein, professor of professional practice in the Department of Supply Chain and Analytics.
‘A perfect fit’
Richards followed his older sister, Madsy, into the UMSL volleyball program and eventually into the supply chain and analysis.
Madsy Richards had transferred from Kirkwood Community College as a defensive specialist the summer before Charlotte’s senior year. The family bond undoubtedly gave Young an edge by recruiting her to Xavier High School, and she quickly established a relationship with him and loved his coaching style.
She also found a lot to like about the university, including its location.
“I liked the idea of being in a bigger city with a bit more activities and things to do,” said Richards. “It was in a perfect place where I could still come home on the weekends if I had free time. Honestly, St. Louis was the perfect fit with the perfect mix of activities to do throughout the city.
Richards wasn’t sure what educational path she wanted to take when she enrolled in first grade, but UMSL provided enough space for her to try out different options. She began studying criminology and criminal justice in her first semester before moving on to the College of Business Administration.
Once there, she took courses in marketing, finance, accounting, and management before eventually landing on supply chain and analytics, just like her older sister.
“It’s the perfect mix of numbers and problem solving and being able to interact with different people,” said Richards. “I love him and I would never choose anything else.”
Richards has received strong support from faculty members such as Assistant Professor Maureen Karig, who teaches Introduction to Supply Chain Management and serves as a liaison between faculty and the Supply Chain Club. and transport.
The same goes for Millstein, who, along with his wife, annually sponsors a $ 2,000 scholarship for a supply chain student. Richards received it before his junior year.
“She sent a lovely note – ‘Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Millstein…’,” Millstein said. “I emailed him back and told him that my wife and I enjoy meeting our fellows. It was during the pandemic – at the height of the pandemic – so, of course, it was done virtually. “
They spoke about Richards’ Zoom and what she was hoping to do after college, and Millstein, who owns a consulting business, gave her some advice on supply chain careers.
Committed to success
It wasn’t until last spring, when Richards enrolled in her hands-on supply chain course, that Millstein got to see how smart and motivated she was in a classroom. She worked at Level A throughout the semester, but still went out of her way to complete each additional credit assignment she offered her students.
Richards did so even though she was in the midst of her sensational junior volleyball season – a season moved to the spring semester due to the pandemic. She led the Tritons to a 16-3 record and paced the GLVC with an average of 4.35 kills and 4.81 points per set, earning her second consecutive All-GLVC first-team recognition and being chosen the player. of the year.
“You never recruit a kid, and you’re like, ‘This kid is going to be the player of the year,’” Young said. “You like to hope so, but the coaches are realistic. You just don’t know how much extra work they’re going to put in, and she’s done a lot of work over the years. She obviously had the natural ability, but she puts 100% effort into everything she does.
Richards, who won second-year second-team All-American honors in a three-headed attack that included senior outside hitters Selena Nolte and Kylie Rudsinski, credited her teammates – especially setter Kaileen Herman and libero Megan Woll – for helping her manage the extra attention she received from her opponents as a junior and put her in a position to succeed.
“All the success I have seen in athletics on the volleyball court is due to my teammates,” said Richards. “Their support has been incredible over the past four years. Whether it was during games or to improve myself in training, I couldn’t have done it without their help.
This fall marks Richards’ third season alongside Herman and Woll, and their familiarity and confidence on the pitch gives them a sense of confidence and calm, according to Richards, will help them in their pursuit of a conference championship and in the playoffs.
‘A real bright future‘
Richards is on track to earn his BSBA in December and already has a solid resume after working as an intern for the past three summers at Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, with a manufacturing facility in Cedar Rapids.
Millstein thinks future employers should feel lucky to hire him.
“We’re all interested in seeing where her career takes her,” he said. “For us, that’s a big part of the job, isn’t it? “Where will she be in five or 10 years?” A director or a vice-president? ‘ She’s going to go really fast and hopefully with one of our advisory companies if they have the chance to land her. “
But Richards will not yet join the workforce.
With the pandemic shaking up schedules last season and the cancellation of national championship tournaments, including volleyball, the NCAA has granted student-athletes an additional year of eligibility. Richards decided to take advantage of this by enrolling in duplicate in the Master of Science in Supply Chain Analytics program.
She has started taking graduate courses this semester while completing her bachelor’s degree requirements and will continue to work for her master’s degree until next season.
It was good news for Young.
“Stuffing her shoes next year or every time she leaves will be a challenge,” Young said. “But knowing that she will be there next year gives me an extra year to recruit her and try to find replacements for her. We’re delighted to have it, and it’s a great location. She is getting help paying for her college education and she is preparing for a truly bright future. That’s for sure.”
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