CRESTVIEW — Kristen Bufkin and Brittany Pase will soon go their separate ways after sharing several big matches as Crestview High School volleyball teammates.
The senior tandem took the home court at the Crestview gym one last time Monday as they announced their college decisions.
Bufkin, a softball and volleyball player, will head for the University of Miami in the fall on academic scholarships totaling $167,000. She will study neuroscience and play club softball for the Hurricanes, who don't have a varsity softball program.
Pase will play beach volleyball at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. She is believed to be the first volleyball player from Okaloosa County to receive a scholarship for beach volleyball.
Bufkin, who scored a perfect 36 on her ACT, is glad she won't have to worry about costs for the next four years.
"It really does take a load off my mind," she said. "With a lot of colleges you don't realize the feasibility (of attending) until you start applying and looking at the schools. Money is the deciding factor a lot of times if you attend.
I'm excited because I want to be a neurologist. But I want to work more on the sports medicine aspect of it with all the new research on the concussions and the head trauma is really big right now. I think it's going to be really interesting with sports and the neurosurgeons."
Bufkin thought about pursuing varsity softball at the college level, but is happy to play club softball.
"I don't care where I play," she said. "I just want to play."
Pase has only played beach volleyball a short time, but she quickly developed a passion for the game.
"I started playing beach volleyball a couple of years ago and I love it," she said. "You get touches every time. It's a lot more relaxed.
"I love indoor volleyball, don't get me wrong, but I love being on the beach. The University of North Florida has a great program. They've got conference championships and they've got a great academic program."
Pase said there are different challenges with beach volleyball as opposed to the six-person game played on a hard court.
"The sand is a lot harder to move in and you only have two people as opposed to six on one court," she said. "You have to be able to read (the ball) fast and move fast. And jumping higher is a lot harder on the sand too."
Crestview girls basketball and volleyball Coach Kathy Combest expects big things from her now former players.
"She's very aggressive and athletic," Combest said in describing Pase. "She's into the game all the time. Whether it was practice or a game she was ready.
"She's right at 5-11, but she's so smart. Sand, it's not always tall, it's always placement and she places the ball well in sand."
Combest said she's amazed at what Bufkin has accomplished in the classroom.
"She made a perfect score on her ACT," she said. "All of our girls smart, but none have gone this far in academic. A kid that is that disciplined on her own to do grades and the things that aren't fun, it makes it easier when she does what she likes to do.
"She always sets the bar high. I feel like Kristen is always going to reach it (the goal) whether you set it or she sets it. Kristen is always going to be an overachiever in her life."
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.