Homecoming spotlight: Sammy Francis, Vail Christian High School in Edwards, Colorado
Vail, CO Colorado
Sammy Francis has unique talents that extend well beyond the volleyball court. Make no mistake, she’s awesome there, too, but it’s what she does off the court that’s really cool. Francis and her family train assistance dogs for people with mobility or hearing problems. The family’s new dog, Dylan, is currently going through the training regime. Dylan also has another important job. He serves as the mascot for the Vail Christian volleyball team.
Catch Francis, Vail Christian and Dylan on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against North Park in Edwards.
Parents: Steve and Jeanett
Siblings: Jared, 18, Dakota, 15.
What do you like about volleyball? “I like it most when I get a really hard hit, or when someone gets a really good dig on our team.”
How does it feel to spike the ball? “I like being able to put in a spot where nobody is. That’s really fun. Like, trick the other team.”
Is it hard to read where the defense is going to be when you’re going up for a spike? “No, it’s usually not.”
How’s it playing in the new gym? “The new gym is awesome. The lights and the floor are really nice. It’s really fun to have our own fans and our own gym.”
Has it helped having your own gym? “It’s nice to have that consistency. We haven’t had that the last couple of years. At the same time, we aren’t as adaptable as we are before. It’s definitely nice we have the gym.”
What’s it like playing with your sister? “It’s fun. I kind of play through her though. I always make sure she is in the right spot. Probably a little too much sometimes. I just want her to do well. Sometimes I come a little bit over top trying to help her.”
Favorite food: “Spaghetti and meatballs.”
Favorite movie: “A Walk to Remember. It’s a good story. It’s a good Christian story. It’s a good love story.”
Favorite thing to do outside of volleyball? “Ride my horse, or play with my dog. The horse is named Patron. The dog is named Dylan. We are raising him to be a service dog. We train assistance dogs for people with mobility or hearing loss.”
How many dogs have you trained in the past? “He’s my second dog. My first dog, Eli, is at advanced training in California. You have a puppy for a year and a half, and you do specialized training. Then you turn them back in. They go to advanced trained for four months, then they get placed with a family.”
Is it hard letting the dog go? “Yes, but you know it’s going to someone to make their life a lot better.”
What kind of dogs are they? “We do mostly labs, and golden retrievers.”
Favorite TV show? “I don’t really watch TV, but I would say The Scrubs, or The West Wing.”
Future plans: “I plan on going to college, I’m just not sure where. I am thinking about nursing.”
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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