February 22, 2017
Writer: Erin Quaranta
A former college volleyball star is now a Brigham Young University-Idaho student.
Not many athletes would attend a university without inter-collegiate sports after receiving and completing a full-ride scholarship at another university.
"But it ended up being the best thing that could possibly happen to me and not because of volleyball," said Kimberly Toronto. "Not because volleyball is all that important, but because of the relationships it would allow me to have in the future."
Toronto played volleyball at Idaho State University on a full-ride scholarship for four years. She became friends with other students on her volleyball team who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"Then towards the end of that year I started not being happy with my life," said Toronto. "But I saw some really great examples, and a month later I was asked by the missionaries if I wanted to get baptized. I laughed in their faces, I was like 'I'm not getting baptized,' but just a few days later I had an impression that I needed to get baptized."
After becoming a member of the Church and serving a mission, her mission president helped her realize she needed a change. That's when she enrolled at BYU-Idaho.
"I got this impression that the gospel is the most important thing in my life and it will continue to help me grown and progress if I go to BYU-Idaho," said Toronto.
When Ricks College transitioned from a two-year college to a four-year university in 2001, the traveling sports program was dropped.
"But this competitive sports program was started," said Trent Shippen, the Sport Coordinator for Student Activities at BYU-Idaho. "No travel. No Scholarships. But we have students running our program, not a full-time coach, but students running it."
Shippen says while this change was huge it has many benefits for the students.
"Boy there are a lot of opportunities to grow," said Shippen. "When you leave this University, you have already had the opportunity to be a head coach or assistant coach. 'What? You've already done coaching before you left here!' That's one of the really cool things about the sports program is they're the leaders right now."
There are competitive leagues, intramural leagues and sports workshops so any student, at any level, can get involved.
For Toronto, the change is positive.
"I think that's ultimately the goal of Student Activities and BYU-Idaho Recreational and Competitive Sports is to make you more Christ-like than you were the day before and to make you think more about people," said Toronto. "It makes you want to love them more and see them succeed. And it can only happen at a school like this."
For a list of competitive sports opportunities at BYU-Idaho, click here.
*This article has been updated to reflect that Toronto didn't leave her scholarship at ISU, but left after using her scholarship for four years.