Nursing plus volleyball equals new home for Brighton’s Ward

Steve Smith ssmith@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 3/23/21

Brighton’s Ryleigh Ward wanted a college that could let her play volleyball and pursue a degree in nursing.

She found such a place in Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia.

It has a …

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Nursing plus volleyball equals new home for Brighton’s Ward

Posted
Brighton’s Ryleigh Ward wanted a college that could let her play volleyball and pursue a degree in nursing.
She found such a place in Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia.
It has a nursing program that I was accepted into as a freshman, and it also has a competitive volleyball program that made it to the (NCAA) Division III sweet 16 last year,” she said. “It has a small campus and student body that I was looking for as well.”
The pandemic changed the normal recruiting process for Ward.
“I was able to finally visit last October and tour campus with the coaches,” she said. “I met some of the players and had a ‘socially distant’ sit down with them and was able to sit in on a practice. I committed before I left that day.”
In 2019, Ward totaled 53 kills and 57 aces in 50 sets for the Bulldogs.
“I had visited several other schools and I felt just from pictures and conversations that MU would be the place for me,” she said. “But I just needed to physically step on campus to be sure. I knew that Marymount was the place for me.  Once I was admitted directly into the nursing program and got my scholarship notification, I knew I had made the right decision.”
Ward’s interest in nursing started because her mom is a nurse.
“I also took CNA (certified nurse aide) class in high school,” Ward said. “I hope to work in the NICU one day. MU has an awesome accredited nursing program and some of the players in the program had good things to say about it. With their high pass rates, their grads haven’t had any issues finding jobs.”
Ward’s description of recruiting during a pandemic fits a lot of high-school seniors’ stories.
“Before the pandemic hit, I was already talking to a few coaches. But during the pandemic, it was a lot of Zoom calls, phone calls and sending video,” she said. “I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like if I hadn’t already established some of those relationships.”
Ward admitted to the usual feelings that come with leaving for school -- scared, excited, nervous.
“It’s really far from home, but I’m excited for the adventure,” she said.

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