Sophomore Ethan Jennings unites with his team to obtain a bid for the USA Volleyball National Championship

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Reese Berry

Jumping to set a ball, sophomore Ethan Jennings assists an attack for junior Evan Conger. Jennings played JV volleyball his freshman year and continues to play for the High Performance Volleyball program. “Playing with older guys was great because it gave me a unique experience that most guys my age don’t usually have and pushed me to work harder,” Jennings said.

After playing a year for the highest level of the High-Performance Volleyball program, sophomore Ethan Jennings and his team obtained a bid for the USA national volleyball tournament in June. 

Having only played a year of volleyball, Jennings feels his success is due to the consistent work he puts into it.

“My mom pushed me to play at first, and after I got more experience and learned more about the sport, I eventually fell in love with it,” Jennings said. “I consistently enjoy games and practice day in and day out, and I’ve built great relationships with the other people on my team.”

Since the beginning of the season, Jennings had to adjust to the atmosphere of his new team. 

“There are always new players that join the program with many factors that go into where you play, but as long as you keep working and developing your skills, it makes it easier to be successful,” Jennings said.

Jennings feels the team’s attitude while playing was also a major factor in receiving their bid into nationals.
“During games, it is a very intense atmosphere, [and] we all try our hardest to win,” Jennings said. “It’s the best feeling after games [when] we are successful because we all come together to celebrate as a team.” 

Maintaining a positive outlook was important for Jennings and his team to compete at a high level.

“Hard work and dedication are necessary for achieving your goals,” Jennings said. “If you want to do something, you can’t just let it go. You have to constantly keep pushing at it, and my team used that mentality to make it to nationals.”

With the national tournament scheduled to take place June 27, Jennings works with his team every day to prepare for the challenges ahead of them.

“Our goal is obviously to win nationals but also to play as hard as we can along the way and to grow as individuals and as a team,” Jennings said. “I never focus on how prominent the game is or its significance but instead what I need to do in order to help my team.”