|Summarized by Donna Williams
Carpenter is BYU's surprise Cougar
Deseret News 6Jan99
By Jeff Call: Deseret News sports writer
Logan native Mari Burningham Carpenter, highly recruited four years
ago from Sky View High School, where she was an all-state volleyball
and basketball star and Deseret News prep volleyball MVP in 1994, signed
a letter of intent to play volleyball and basketball for the UCLA
During a one year stint with the Bruins, she was an All-Pac 10 freshman
team honorable mention selection as a voleyball player. But she disliked
being so far from home and found her classes "too large and impersonal."
In addition she felt she received inadequate medical attention for a
herniated disc in her back, an injury she originally received in high
school and reaggravated at UCLA.
At that time, she seriously looked into attending Utah, a school that
had tried hard to recruit her out of high school. At first, Carpenter
agreed to play volleyball and basketball for the Utes, but changed her
mind later, saying, "I didn't feel good about it in my heart; I was
Carpenter finally decided to head for Ricks Junior College. After
playing volleyball there for just one week, she reinjured her back and
had to undergo surgery which forced her to miss the season there.
But a year later, she came back and decided to concentrate solely on
volleyball, a decision that paid off in a stellar year in 1997 when she
led the NJCAA in kills per game per game (5.7) and was named first team
NJCAA All-America. And, on the personal side, she met and wed student
assistant coach, Nathan Carpenter.
When Nathan decided to attend BYU, Ricks volleyball coach Joann Reeves
called BYU volleyball coach Elaine Michaelis on Carpenter's behalf.
Although BYU had attempted to recruit Carpenter out of high school, she
had paid little notice, especially since her parents had discouraged her
attendance there. Coach Michaelis did not have any women's volleyball
scholarships available, but women's basketball coach Trent Shippen, who
had coached at Ricks the previous year, did. So Carpenter accepted the
offer and enrolled at BYU.
This past fall, despite chronic back pain, Carpenter earned All-WAC
volleyball honors as an outside hitter on a squad that came one game
away from a Final Four appearance. As soon as volleyball season
concluded, Carpenter joined the basketball team. This is the the first
time she has been played competitive basketball in three years, and
Coach Shippen is bringing her along slowly, especially since basketball
is a much more physical game and is much harder physically on her back.
But Carpenter is happy with where she is and feels she has found her
niche. She notes that her parents, who originally discouraged her
attending BYU, are now staunch supporters since they see how happy she