FARGO, N.D. - Pam Stencel (Schroeder) has dedicated her life to volleyball and has achieved a lot of success along the way.
Now, volleyball has found a way of giving back to her.
On Friday, Stencel will be inducted into the North Dakota State University Bison Athletic Hall of Fame during an afternoon ceremony in Fargo, N.D.
Photo submitted by North Dakota State University
Marshall native Pam Stencel (Schroeder) attempts to set the ball during a North Dakota State volleyball match. Stencel, a two-time AVCA Division II All-American and ASICS/Volleyball All-American in 1995 and 1996, will be inducted into the Bison Athletic Hall of Fame during a ceremony Friday afternoon.
"Words can not express what this means to me," Stencel said. "It's an honor to know that people believed in my competitiveness and my drive to play volleyball. It's nice to recognized for that. Honestly, I am not sure this honor has set in yet."
Stencel, a four-year starting setter from 1993 to 1996, will be inducted along with several other former NDSU athletes, including national champion pole vaulter Ryan McGlynn (1993-96), baseball pitcher and designated hitter Steve Selk (1987-89), women's basketball guard and All-American sprinter Susan Faus (1988-92), women's cross country and track and field coach Jerry Gores (1987-99), national champion wrestler Lloyd Wurm (1990-93) and football All-American free safety Ken Clark (1987-90). The Bison will also induct their 1988 wrestling national championship team.
The induction ceremony - in its 42nd year - will take place at the Holiday Inn in Fargo. Lunch will be served at 11 a.m., with the induction ceremony beginning at 11:30 a.m. There are currently 251 individual and five teams inducted into the hall of fame.
In 1993, Stencel selected North Dakota State to continue her academic and volleyball careers.
In the classroom, she earned a bachelor's degree in child development and family science.
On the court, Stencel became a two-time Amercan Volleyball Coaches Associates Division II All-American and ASICS/Volleyball All-American, landing first-team honors in 1995 and 1996. She was selected as a two-time AVCA All-Region player, represented the Bison on two NCAA Regional all-tournament teams and was picked for the All-North Central Conference team four times. In 1993, the NCC recognized her as the Freshman of the Year.
Stencel overcame reconstructive knee surgery following her freshman season.
"I blew it out right before the playoffs in my freshman year," Stencel said. "So, I had to sit for a couple of weeks and, then, I had surgery at the end of that year and I came back to volleyball the following August. It was eight or nine months of strong rehab, but it was never an option to not overcome it. I wanted to play volleyball."
Stencel is one of 12 NCAA Division II setters to surpass 5,000 career assists. Since 1996, she has held NDSU records of 5,408 assists and 11.86 assists per set. Her 1,214 digs is currently 10th on the Bison's all-time list, while her 117 service aces currently ranks ninth.
"I never thought that those records would have been upheld," Stencel said. "It's exciting to know that I am still up at the top (of the set assist list)."
North Dakota State won the 1993 North Central Conference regular season championship and advanced to three NCAA regionals in Stencel's four seasons.
Stencel said her love for volleyball started at a young age, and grew while attending Marshall High School matches.
"I started playing when I was in third grade," Stencel said. "The head coach at the time (Dave Ahmann) was my gym teacher. He thought that I could be good at volleyball and at being a setter."
Ahmann's foresight led Stencel to give volleyball a try.
Eventually, Stencel became a three-year starter at setter for the Tigers' from 1990 to 1992. She earned Class 2A all-state tournament honors as MHS finished as the runner-up.
For the last 10 seasons, Stencel has been an assistant volleyball coach at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. For 12 years, she has been employed at Scheels All Sports as a sport shoe manager before moving into shipping and receiving.
"At first, it was hard to sit on the sideline," Stencel said of becoming a coach. "Now, I just want to see my players succeed. So, I try to instill in them the competitiveness of not wanting to lose. However, I get enough playing time with the team and I know I could still do both."
Stencel also operates a volleyball camp business and coaches for the Eau Claire Air club volleyball team.
She resides in Eau Claire, with her son Avery and daughters Ashlynn and Addison.
Stencel said she loves coming home to Marshall to teach volleyball.
"I think we decided this will be my 12th year coming home to the camp as SMSU," Stencel said. "It's always nice to be home, around my friends and family."