Surrounded by family, Marysa Ocampo, white shirt in the front row, signs her national letter of intent to play volleyball at New Mexico Military Institute.
Photo courtesy of Marysa Ocampo

After playing for the Socorro High School volleyball team, Marysa Ocampo will be continuing her volleyball career as she signed with the New Mexico Military Institute.

“Whenever I was little, I had my heart set on soccer and my mom played volleyball when she was in high school,” Ocampo said. “She put me in a camp, I remember, and after that camp, I fell in love and I knew that is what I wanted to do.”

Ocampo said that one of her dreams growing up was to play a sport at the next level, just like how her dad played football in college. I thought it would be really cool to experience some of the things he talked about because he always has lots of stories from when he played,” she said. “That sounds like the type of environment that I want to be around. My body’s not always going to be equipped to play my whole life so if I have opportunities now, why not take them so I won’t regret them in the future.”

She said how her dad always has his former teammates over to their house and that she has grown up around the brotherhood that they have.

Part of the reason why Ocampo chose to go to NMMI was that as a setter, she connected right away with the hitters and attackers on the team. Ocampo said that she is hoping to form a bond with her new teammates like the bond her dad has with his former teammates.

“Sort of like a family — you’re going into college with a family already and you all work towards the same goal, you are all motivated, you are all going through the same things,” Ocampo said. “It’s really cool to be competitive around other people that are competitive and you guys can all succeed together. It’s a good environment to be around.”

For Ocampo, recruiting during the coronavirus pandemic was a challenge because her club volleyball season was cut short last year and she didn’t have a season in the fall. She said that she struggled to make a highlight video in the amount of time she had to get it to the college coaches.

“Most of the bigger colleges and the coaches I talked to had already done their recruiting for my class so I could walk-on if I wanted, but my parents have three other kids that they have to take care of so financially I want to try and take care of myself throughout the whole thing and have them pay for the least amount possible. It was really hard,” she said.

Ocampo will be receiving a full-ride scholarship to play at NMMI.

“I want my brothers to get the best education that they can,” she said. “I’m going to do whatever I can to contribute to my education and I can’t really ask for anything more than that. I thought that was really awesome.”

Once Ocampo’s two years at NMMI are over, she is hoping to continue her education and her volleyball career.

“NMMI was ninth in the nation last year and they have stayed top 10 for like the last 10 years so it’s like no joke and 90 percent of their girls go D1 or a higher up DII after their program and that’s my ultimate goal,” she said. “I thought NMMI was the best choice.”

During her high school career, according to MaxPreps, Ocampo played in 216 sets during her three years on varsity and a combined season on the freshman and JV team.

In her junior season, she played in 98 sets with 152 kills, 202 attack attempts and 50 attack errors. Ocampo also had 52 aces with 28 solo blocks.

She played in 85 sets her sophomore season with 109 kills, 37 aces and 11 solo blocks.

While Ocampo is unsure if her senior volleyball season will happen, she said she is looking forward to starting her career at NMMI.

“I went on a recruiting visit to NMMI and it was an amazing environment,” she said. “I was a little skeptical about the military school at first, but that is just something that comes along with what I want to do. If this is my dream, if this is what I want to do, there are going to be some cons to that. I think the pros outweigh the cons.”