- Alma School District
Hard work opens doors for Airedales’ McIntosh 8/10/21
Hard work opens doors for Airedales’ McIntosh
By Kevin Taylor
Rebekah McIntosh long ago established herself as one of the faces of Alma High School. After all, she's involved in three sports, Partners Club, Technology Student Association, Model United Nations, and the National Honor Society.
Oh, and she juggles her busy schedule with a part-time cashier job at Walmart.
As a seventh-grader, Alma's most athletic volleyball player rarely saw the floor. Today, she's the program's best player.
"I really feel like you have to put in the work to compete," McIntosh said. "When I started in the seventh grade, I was on the 'D' team, and I didn't play. (But) I worked my butt off to get where I am now, and I don't think a lot of people are willing to put in work to get where they want to be."
“Those are the athletes we want,” Alma coach Kimberly Weaver said. “With volleyball, the initial ability is not related to final ability. So much of it is how hard you’re willing to work. She’s put the time in, and it shows.”
McIntosh will be the focal point for Weaver's Lady Airedales volleyball program this fall that's been on its heels in recent years. Since breaking even (15-15) in 2017, Alma combined for just 15 wins (15-59) over the next three seasons.
But McIntosh believes she and her teammates have the capabilities to crash the playoff party — even though the 5A-West is tough.
"We do have one of the toughest conferences because the people that won conference (Greenwood) also won state, but it's an achievable goal — we can go to state," McIntosh said. "We just have to really put in the effort to go to state."
Alma's biggest nemesis from a year ago was often itself. Hitting errors and defensive lapses contributed to a five-win team that actually had eight more seniors than McIntosh's 2021 group.
The 2021 version of the Lady Airedales includes just three seniors — McIntosh, Kristen Lindley, and C.J. Floyd.
"It feels like last year we definitely had potential to go to state," McIntosh said. "It just seems we didn't reach our fullest potential. We've had a lot of other issues, too, giving other teams points based on our errors, which is what we're working on really hard this year."
McIntosh's efforts may be enough to get her to the next level, too.
"I have a lot of things I want to accomplish,” she said. “I want to go to the state (tournament) while in high school, and I want to play in college. I feel like I still have to work my butt off; I know I have to get the college reps here to do anything with it."
Getting there is easier said than done. The 5A-West is a relentless league of powerhouses.
"I feel like for us to go to state, we're going to have to reduce our errors," McIntosh said. "We're going to have to focus on hitting in the right spots, rather than hitting hard. We're going to have to focus on hitting the ball where no one is at. This may sound really weird, but we have to work on our energy, too, because the moment our energy goes down, our skill level goes down.
"It feels like when our energy goes down, we've been hit by a train."
A Rudy native who excels in tennis and track as well, McIntosh excelled at competitive cheer prior to high school.
"The first sport I ever joined was competitive cheer, which is nothing like school cheer," she said. "I think I had almost 20 hours of practice a week, going to competitions ... winning nationals, going to worlds. It was a whole thing."
In her own words, this is where the story takes a fork in the road.
"It kind of got complicated because I knew I wanted to play sports," she said. "It was really hard to play sports and still stay in competitive cheer, so I dropped competitive cheer. My parents never forced me to do anything I didn't want to do; if I didn't want to play volleyball, I wouldn't have to.
"My parents fully supported me when I was on the 'D' team, but I was like, 'No, it's OK.' "
“I knew she was something special the first time I watched her play,” Weaver said. “She’s really dynamic; she has the ability to play defensively and offensively.
"The thing that sets her apart (from teammates) is she’s seen a lot more competition at the club level.”
This summer, McIntosh attended the National Student Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. Originally, the event was scheduled for Nashville but was moved to American University in Washington.
The event forced her to track every minute.
"I thought I was better at managing my time," she said. "It made me realize that I was bad at managing my time. We would have to be somewhere at 5 o'clock, and I was like, "I'm sorry I'm four minutes late.' There's a lot of consequences to your actions, whether you know it or not.
“As long as I get to practice on time and I talk to my (Walmart) managers, everything will be OK."
REBEKAH MCINTOSH BIO
Class, Pos. Years in the program
2022, Outside Hitter, 6th year
Favorite Volleyball Memory?
Winning our first game last season
Track, tennis, Partners Club, TSA, Model UN, NHS
It’s the day after a game, what are you doing?
Hanging out with friends
You’re driving to school on game day, what are you listening to?
Favorite Movie Genre
Favorite Junk Food
Krystal and Andrew McIntosh