Niles’ Palmer to play volleyball and basketball at SMC

Published 6:39 pm Monday, January 24, 2022

DOWAGIAC — Southwestern Michigan College announced the signing of its first dual-sport athlete Monday afternoon.

Niles senior Amara Palmer, who played volleyball for new Roadrunner Coach Jenny Nate, signed a National Junior College Athletic Association letter of intent to play both volleyball and basketball.

Palmer is the fourth player signed by new SMC Coach Jeanine Wasielewski.

Palmer was a three-year letterwinner in volleyball for the Vikings. She helped Niles win a pair of conference championships, a district and regional title. Niles reached the Division 2 state quarterfinals before falling to No. 1-ranked Grand Rapids Christian last fall.

“I have had the privilege of coaching Amara for the past three years at the high school varsity level and am absolutely thrilled to get to now continue coaching her at the collegiate level,” Nate said, “Amara is a fierce competitor, amazing athlete, incredible teammate, and outstanding student.

“Amara works hard on the court and in the classroom and is an intense force on the net. She is a great attacker and has put in years of work to take her game to the next level. I can’t wait to see her continue to grow on the college court as well. She is passionate about both volleyball and basketball, and I’m so excited that she now has the opportunity to play both at SMC while pursuing her academic goals.”

Palmer is a four-year letterwinner in basketball for the Vikings and one of the program’s top scores the past two seasons.

Vikings’ coach Jessica Johnson is excited that Palmer will be this opportunity to continue her career.

“Amara is a dedicated student-athlete,” she said. “She has a high basketball IQ and takes care of business in the classroom. Amara leads our team in points, steals, rebounds, and assists. She has stepped into the leadership role over the years. It has been my pleasure to coach Amara. I am excited she decided to stay local to be part of expanding SMC’s athletic programs while furthering her education. I look forward to seeing what she will do at the next level.”

Wasielewski likes all the things that Palmer will bring to her inaugural squad.

“I am thrilled to add Amara to our women’s basketball recruiting class,” she said. “Her accolades as a dual-sport athlete are impressive, and she will certainly be an impact player here at SMC. Amara also excels in her academics and has her sights set on pursuing a degree in biology / pre-med. On the court, Amara is a smooth, slashing guard that can beat her defender off the bounce with a long first step and finishing moves around the rim. She will bring height and length on the perimeter and has the ability to consistently hit the three from deep. This is exactly what we are striving for here at SMC — providing high academic and competitive athletic opportunities for our local student-athletes.”