Basketball stars seek new endeavours

Lucas Smith

Lucas SmithSportswriter

It was a sad day last year when Alison Anderson and Ketty Cornemann played their final game of basketball for SDSU.

However, Jackrabbit athletics were not over for these two super athletes. Both decided to use their final year of eligibility to play another sport. Cornemann joined the volleyball team, and Anderson runs cross country and track.

Switching sports after four years is no simple task. Check out Michael Jordan’s minor league baseball stats for some perspective.

How did these two handle such a difficult change? Pure athletic ability helps, accompanied with a world-class work ethic.

“Both were very dedicated to our sport and our program,” said women’s basketball head coach Aaron Johnston, who coached them for four years. “They were strong competitors on the basketball court, and the team will miss them this year.”

During their basketball careers, the duo achieved numerous accomplishments, including back-to-back Summit League Championships and two trips to the NCAA tournament.

Cornemann, a native of Yankton, was a two-year starter and was named to the all-Summit League second team last season. She was also a 1,000-point scorer for the Jacks. Anderson was a defensive specialist and played a key role off the bench.

Both players were exceptional athletes in high school, which eased the transition from sport to sport. A competitive nature fueled their willingness to play another sport at the collegiate level.

What started out as a joke between Cornemann and volleyball head coach Nanabah Allison-Brewer, soon became reality. Cornemann approached Allison-Brewer about playing volleyball and she was welcomed with open arms.

She is no stranger to the game. In high school, Cornemann was selected as the South Dakota Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year.

“We felt like she could bring that championship experience to our program,” Allison-Brewer said. “She made the transition well, and it has been a pleasure coaching her.”

After joining the team as a fifth-year rookie, Cornemann did not have any allusions about her role on the team.

“I didn’t think I was going to come in and change the world, I just wanted to help the team in any way I could,” Cornemann said. “I wanted to play to the best of my ability.”

Cornemann has done that and is one of the key contributors off the bench.

“She understands the game and she’s a hard worker,” Allison-Brewer said.

A superior work ethic is something Anderson shares with Cornemann, along with being an outstanding athlete.

Anderson’s list of high school accolades includes Player of the Year honors from the Waseca County News and the Albert Lea Tribune, and she finished as the all-time leading scorer in school history. She also lettered in track six times, among numerous other honors.

Anderson, who hails from New Richland, Minn., joined the track team late last season after a friend suggested she talk to cross country head coach Rod DeHaven about joining the squad.

This season in cross country, her times have improved with every event.

“It’s nerve racking,” Anderson said. “You have to be on your toes the whole time.”

Joining the track and cross country team stretches beyond school for Anderson.

“I was interested in pursuing cross country because it is something I could do lifelong,” Anderson said.

Anderson runs up to 40 miles a week for preparation and sometimes 10 miles per day.

“There’s certainly no denying it’s a different level of hierarchy,” DeHaven said. “I’m appreciative for the time I’ve got to spend with her. Her personality and leadership skills have been a big asset to the team.”

The relationship between Anderson and Cornemann extends beyond the basketball court. The duo came to SDSU as freshmen in 2006 and lived together for two years.

“Alison and I are like best friends,” Cornemann said.

The feeling is mutual with Anderson.

“Ketty is one of the easiest people to get along with,” Anderson said.

After graduation, each aspires to coach basketball someday.

“They both have what it takes,” Johnston said. “They have the dedication, they communicate well and have great personalities. I think they’d be very successful.”

#1.1743525:1036670466.png:11-03-2010 14:Ketty Cornemann leaps for a kill in a match earlier this year. Cornemann has 69 kills in 19 matches this year.:Collegian Photo#1.1766943:3144770368.jpg:Alison Anderson runs at Edgebrook Golf Course in the SDSU Classic on Oct. 2. :Alison Anderson runs at Edgebrook Golf Course in the SDSU Classic on Oct. 2. :Collegian Photo by Ryan Robinson