Dickinson State has two new recruits coming to campus next fall. Both the Blue Hawks volleyball and track and field teams will be adding Kataya Baranko of Richardton, N.D. and Alyssa Andress of Hettinger, N.D.
Baranko was the first to sign and commit to Dickinson State, committing the school in early October. Baranko was able to obtain a 3.75 GPA throughout her high school academic career and was a co-captain for the Raiders volleyball team for three of her four years and started all four. Baranko was also named to the North Dakota Class B All-Region team in 2018. In track and field, Baranko competed at state from 2017-19 and currently holds two school records and two Class B Regional records, the school record in high jump with 5’3” along with a Class B Regional record of 5’1” and holds a school record in 300m hurdles with a time of 46.30, which is also the record for Class B Regionals.
“I really liked the coaches and the programs that they had,” Baranko said. “I got to kind of interact with the volleyball team at a camp (last) summer and I just really liked the team and thought it’d be a good fit for me ... I’m really excited to be able to go there, to be able to do one sport in college is really exciting, but to be able to do both sports is a big thing for me, so it’s really exciting to be able to go there and keep on doing both sports.”
For Andres, she officially declared for Dickinson State on Oct. 21. Andres was also one of the top academic students at Hettinger, and was also a leader on the volleyball court. Andres was recently able to record her 1,000th kill in her career as a volleyball athlete with the NightHawks. Andres is currently ranked No. 11 in North Dakota top volleyball athletes and will be a key addition to the volleyball, as well as the track team, next fall.
“I toured Dickinson (State) because I really loved the campus, the coach was really, really nice and I met some girls from the team and they were all so very nice, and I guess the atmosphere just seemed really inviting, and it just seemed like a good fit for me,” Andres said. “It’s a little nerve-wracking, going up to the college level and playing, but it’s more exciting. Just the idea of being able to meet new teammates and have the college experience of being a college athlete.”
Baranko and Andres will meet as opponents in volleyball for one final time at Richardton-Taylor High School on Oct. 29.