Craw-Uresti is the first to admit that Reedley College, Kings River Community College (KRCC) wasn’t on her original list of colleges to attend. However, “My days at KRCC are truly some of the best I had in college,” she said.
She had “great expectations” for her volleyball future and potential colleges as a student planning to graduate from Sierra High School in Tollhouse. But her plans changed when she suffered a knee injury in the final tournament of her club season, and she was forced to play at the junior college level.
Coming to Reedley College and playing as a Tiger helped Craw-Uresti in many ways she didn’t originally anticipate. “I had never been a very dedicated student, and stepping into a college atmosphere where I was well aware that professors knew who I was made a big difference for me,” she said. “Had I gone to a Division I school straight out of high school, I would have been lost in the shuffle of the masses and so would my grades. KRCC gave me the opportunity to appreciate learning on my own terms while still feeling supported as an individual, not just as a seat number in some lecture hall.”
Playing for the Tigers also gave Craw-Uresti the chance to carry out her “lifelong dream” of playing volleyball with best friend Holly Hodge. “We had attended rival high schools, and now we were teammates and roommates,” she said. While at KRCC, she also met her current husband, Xavier, and began her lifelong friendship with volleyball Head Coach Shirley Gustafson.
Craw-Uresti played for the Tigers from 1990 to ’91 and earned many honors: All-American, All-State, All-Conference, Most Valuable Player, and was named team captain. From her achievements at Reedley College, she earned a full volleyball scholarship to California State University, Fresno. After college, she went on to coach local high school volleyball at various levels, including varsity, junior varsity and freshman.
Craw-Uresti is currently a stay-at-home mom for her two children, Owen Luke and Aunyka Gwen, in Brentwood, where she is also a Pampered Chef consultant and the vice president of marketing for the local nonprofit organization All Out Sports League.
In 2005, she was the president of the MOMS Club of Brentwood and helped raise $50,000 to provide shade structures for the city’s parks.
“Attending KRCC is a choice I am so glad I made,” she said. “It allowed me opportunities to grow that would not have occurred in the same way at a larger school. It allowed me to celebrate successes and get through tough times not just with a team of 12, but with a community. It helped me realize that I really could do anything I set my mind to and that dreams can become reality – all you have to do is work to achieve it.”