Thomas Jefferson

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New Kid on the Block

Posted 11/15/2016 by Layne Ware

Jaden, family, and Anne Rice at DU volleyball signing. photo by Lucy Peterson

Senior volleyball star looks forward to continuing her schooling and love of volleyball at the University of Denver.

Jaden Sandoval has recently signed to the University of Denver on a full ride volleyball scholarship for the 2017-2018 school year. She is planning to follow her dream of playing there for all four years, and hopes to play overseas in the future.

Starting club at the age of six, Sandoval has blossomed throughout her volleyball career and wishes to continue playing after college. “I’ve wanted to play volleyball for as long as I can remember,” said Sandoval. “My parents have told me stories about me when I was little and I would just throw the volleyball around pretending that I was playing because I wasn’t big enough to play yet.”

During the off season Sandoval loves to hang out with friends and family, travel, and participate in any community activities that will benefit others. “I love volleyball, but being able to take a break and do something else is always a plus too, hanging out with friends and family is fun and making memories that you can laugh about later is one of my favorite parts about hanging out with them,” explained Sandoval. She enjoys participating in anything that will benefit other people, including community service: “I once helped out at an elderly home over halloween by just passing out candy to all the people there and seeing the look on their faces and all the smiles made my day and theirs too, it made everyone so happy and helping out always feels so good.”

Sandoval attended George Washington High School for her freshman and sophomore years, where she was an outside hitter before transferring to TJ. After suffering a shoulder injury from playing, she made the decision to transfer. “Getting hurt might have been a blessing in disguise, because I needed to get surgury on my shoulder for a while and now I finally had a reason to really get it done,” explained Sandoval. During her recovery, she helped her team by shagging balls and supporting them from the sideline. Sandoval returned to playing halfway through her junior season, and has made great strides since to aid TJ’s team and ease into her career at DU. TJ coach Erik Rhee has been coaching Sandoval for almost ten years, two at TJ and about seven at the club level. He said, “I think Jaden will do great at DU. Balancing sports and academics is hard, but she is equipped to handle what lies ahead.” Being able to see how she has progressed and gotten better throughout the years is something that Rhee has loved, and he wants to continue coaching her for as long as he can. “Being able to get to know her as a player and seeing her progress has been a pleasure and I am happy that she gets to continue the journey at DU,” said Rhee.

Athletic Director Anne Rice hasn’t been able to see Sandoval’s progress and growth as a player, but she has been able to see a lot of improvement this year. “From what I’ve seen, Jaden has progressed a lot, is a leader on the court an off,” said Rice. Since she transferred to TJ, she has made new friends and adapted to the new environment. “Leaving GW was hard and of course I didn’t want to leave my friends but coming to TJ was a good idea and I’m glad that I did,” said Sandoval. “Now I am in the CCT program and have the amazing opportunity to play on the volleyball team, and that has been so much fun.” Earning for a volleyball scholarship is something that Sandoval has worked hard for her entire life, and now that it is happening she is thrilled and can’t wait to join the Pioneer family. Being able to join TJ is something she has enjoyed very much, and looks she forward to finishing the rest of the semester strong and carrying that work ethic into college.