Students maintain bonds with former teammates

Abigail Slimmon

Freshman year, Troy Johnson walked onto the volleyball court as one of two underclassmen on the varsity team. Instantly, she felt included by her new teammates, especially then-senior Tamera Shaw and Averie Miller.

Troy, a junior with three seasons as a varsity volleyball player,  has found long-lasting role models on the court to mentor her in both volleyball and non-volleyball related issues.

Troy explained that the girls were great teammates and she continues to keep in touch with them during their collegiate volleyball careers.

Averie plays at Lawrence University in Wisconsin and Tamera plays at the University of Rochester in New York. Tamera explained that she learned a lot her first year as a college athlete.

“Playing at the college level is definitely a lot about time management” Tamera said. “Especially for me, playing D-3, the focus is more on academics, but it can be hard to balance my schoolwork with what I’m passionate about.”

Figuring out how much time to put into sports and how much to put into school was one of the problems Tamera also faced in high school. Time management is something Troy has struggled with too, but she said she has been able to turn to her former teammates for advice. 

“My team now is a lot like my team in high school because there isn’t a lot of strong leadership but there is still a close team bond which is really important,” Tamera said. “Lab prepared me to be on a team that isn’t going to have one vocal leader, but still have people to constantly turn to.”

As an underclassmen at U-High, Tamera hadn’t seen herself playing volleyball in college. Once her junior year rolled around, she started hearing about the experiences of some of her former teammates and set her mind to play at the collegiate level.

Similarly, Troy’s former teammates motivated her to start thinking about college volleyball more seriously.

“I think it’s really good to know someone who plays at a higher level because I actually get to know what it’s really like, not just how amazing or how cool everyone makes being a college athlete seem Troy said. “I get to know reality.”