Allison Zastrow loves variety.
That was quite evident watching the Lincoln Pius X all-state setter operate on the volleyball court. She moved the ball from pin to pin, sometimes throwing it high and outside and other times quick in the middle before mixing in a slide play to the right.
Variety goes way beyond athletics for Zastrow, named by PrepVolleyball.com as a first-team Academic All-American. Not only is she a standout volleyball player who runs hurdles in the spring on the Thunderbolt track team, she's a straight-A student whose academic experiences span all the way from calculus and physics to music.
Zastrow has been a part of Pius X's show choir since she was a sophomore. Between club volleyball and track, there are a number of conflicts with show choir performances in the spring.
But it's been a balancing act worth pursuing.
"Show choir has been a savior," Zastrow said. "Whenever I've had a tough school day or volleyball practice, singing is the perfect release from everything."
Zastrow's class schedule demonstrates the academic versatility and wide range of knowledge that produced a 35 (36 is a perfect score) on the ACT. This semester, she's taking French 4, advanced placement literature, AP government and a double period of AP calculus and physics to go with music and religion.
Some seniors elect to coast to graduation their last semester, but Zastrow chose a more challenging path.
"A lot of my friends are in these classes, and it's just a good atmosphere for learning," Zastrow said. "This is getting me ready for college."
Between track, music and club volleyball in the spring, finding time to do homework outside of school can be difficult. "I do what I can during school, and then try to get everything completed before the weekend," she said.
Zastrow passed up NCAA Division I volleyball scholarship offers from Drake and Denver to go to Washington University, a Division III school in St. Louis. While Washington U is a national volleyball power in Division III, it does not offer athletic scholarships.
All financial aid is academic, which can become quite competitive at a school with a national reputation for academic excellence.
"When I visited (Washington), I fell in love with it. It's a beautiful campus and it felt like home," said Zastrow, who wants to major in biology, neurosciences or genetics, with longer term goals of either going to medical school or doing research.
"It has great academics and a strong volleyball program. It's the perfect fit for me."