Hold nothing back
Four years can pass in the blink of an eye, especially when you’re doing what you love. That’s definitely the case for Idaho middle blocker Alex Sele, who is starting her last season as a Vandal volleyball player and hoping to go out on top.
Sele comes from a family with a rich athletic tradition. She said she was destined to be an athlete from the beginning.
“A lot of my influence came from my parents,” Sele said. “I love sports and have been playing them since I was like five. It’s just always been a part of my life.”
Both of Sele’s parents were athletes, as were other relatives — including Aaron Sele, who was an MLB pitcher for 14 years.
Sele stands at 6-feet-2-inches and said her height was a major factor in why volleyball became her sport of choice.
“It looked fun to me, and I had people my entire life telling me I should try volleyball because I’m tall,” Sele said. “I thought I’d try it, but it turned out that I was better at volleyball than I was at a lot of other sports. Since I was good at it and I thought it was fun, I decided to stick with it.”
Throughout high school, Sele showed herself to be a star. At Tumwater High School in Washington, Sele was a four-time all-league selection and led her team to the state championship in 2008. She also played with the South Sound Ohana club team in Olympia, and it was on that team she made her first connection with the University of Idaho.
Sele’s club team played in a tournament in Spokane, a tournament that her future college coach, Debbie Buchanan, just happened to be attending.
“We had a crazy game where we came back from 11-18,” Sele said. “A lot of college coaches were at that game and Debbie happened to be one of them. After the game she ended up talking to my club coach, and from there I visited and decided I loved the atmosphere at Idaho and it was the right size for me, and I made the right decision.”
Buchanan said she knew that Sele would be a great addition to the program.
“Physically, she’s always been gifted,” Buchanan said. “She jumps well. She has a big presence in the middle and she swings high. We knew she’d be a great middle.”
Now Sele is a senior and playing in her last season. She’s spending this season alongside four other seniors, whom she said she has a special bond with.
Fellow senior Janelle Chow said the group has gone through all the highs and lows of both sports and life together since coming to Idaho.
“We’ve been through everything together,” Chow said. “From dorms to Bob’s to everything else, we’ve done everything together the last four years.”
As a senior, there comes a whole new role of leadership, one Chow said Sele does well.
“She helps us out with a lot and is there to pick us up,” Chow said. “She lets us know what we’re doing wrong, what we need to work on. She’ll just tell you.”
The season is young and no one knows who will be atop the conference at the end of the year. Sele said she just wants to make sure her team doesn’t hold anything back.
“I came into this season knowing it’s my last year, and I’m at peace knowing it’s my last year,” Sele said. “I just want to go out not having any regrets and just know I gave it my all.
Kevin Bingaman can be reached at email@example.com