Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Spartan Sets Up For A Bright Future

Posted 05/24/2016 by Paula Mortel

Jordan Graham takes a strong kill against Standley Lake. photo by Robert Sandoval

Thomas Jefferson Senior Jordan Graham commits to play at Lamar Community college to continue her volleyball career.

Thomas Jefferson senior Jordan Graham has been recognized as a successful student athlete throughout the past several years. Not only has she excelled in academics during her four years in high school, but she has also earned several impressive achievements on the volleyball court. Due to her strong experience with the sport, hard work ethic and a dedicated mindset, Graham received the opportunity to pursue her love of volleyball at Lamar Community college in Lamar, Colorado.

Volleyball has been a vital aspect in Graham’s life for eight years. “I have been playing volleyball since I was ten years old,” Graham said. Over the years, Graham has obtained a passion for the sport not only because of the game, but because of the ability she has gained to meet new people and create close relationships with her teammates. Graham stepped onto the court with the varsity volleyball team at TJ as a freshman, and has been a key player ever since. She contributed to helping TJ become the first DPS school to qualify for the state volleyball championships in 29 years. “I’m glad to have been able to play at the coliseum and represent my school. It was such an unreal feeling,” she explained. She was also named player of the match for multiple games throughout the season by MaxPreps. With Graham’s leadership skills, she was perceived as a figurative role model for the volleyball program.  She informed that she has felt as if she benefitted the team by being experienced in some ways that some of the other players aren’t. “I feel like my energy and compassion towards the game helped my team achieve what we did,” said Graham. Senior Jurnee Farrell, another foundation of the team expressed, “Being able to lead the team with Jordan was always fun because we were able to loosen everyone up and create a comfortable atmosphere for the younger players.”

In addition to her participation with the TJ volleyball program, Graham dedicates her time to playing at Sudden Impact volleyball club. Club volleyball allows her to participate in the sport in a more competitive environment. “Club has benefitted me in ways of getting my skill level higher.” Graham hones her skills through countless hours of practice and training sessions, as well as several hours spent travelling the country for competitive tournaments. Practices range from four to eight hours a week, which makes club volleyball a strenuous experience. With its extensive schedule, Graham had difficulty with balancing her time between volleyball and school. “My main challenge was time management. With practice and school, it’s hard to fit everything into one day but you get the hang of it after a little bit,” said Graham. Although playing club is a tough commitment, it has aided her by helping her gain exposure in the recruiting world. Graham explained that club volleyball is an aggressive environment that is recommended for players who are serious about the sport and who aspire to play at the next level, whether it’s playing at the collegiate level or professionally. “Club has definitely allowed me get exposure to college coaches and helped me earn a scholarship,” Graham added.

Perhaps not every high school athlete gets the chance to play a sport at the collegiate level, but Graham has worked hard to successfully achieve her goal of earning that opportunity. “The recruiting process was not easy, but it was worth it in the end,” stated Graham. In order to reach her collegiate and athletic goals, she had to take several steps along the way. The overall recruiting procedure was a rollercoaster ride for Graham; she had to make contact with a list of college coaches from colleges of her personal interest, create video montages of highlight plays from prior tournaments, and send out information regarding her volleyball experience as a whole. She added, “It was tough when I did not hear back from most of the coaches that I contacted.” One of the many benefits of being a recruited athlete is having the opportunity to visit college campuses and have all your questions about athletics and academics answered. Once Graham touched base with the head coach at Lamar Community college, she was invited to visit the campus and play with her future teammates.

Jordan’s visit on campus allowed her to experience the typical student athlete’s lifestyle at Lamar. She commented, “The campus isn’t very big either which is what I like. I got to walk through the dorms and classrooms. It’s a very small and cozy town in the southeast corner of Colorado.” She further elaborated, “I was also able to practice with the team which was a great opportunity because I got to meet my future teammates.” Her encounter practicing with the team wasn’t just any ordinary experience mentioning, “Practicing with such highly skilled level volleyball players made me realize how more challenging college sports are.” Graham described that the practices and training sessions at Lamar demonstrated a much more intense environment. “My teammates and I had to hustle more and display our best efforts throughout every drill to impress our coach.” She further mentioned that the team received packets which enlist several workouts that are required in order for them to physically prepare for the upcoming season. Their workouts include cardio, weight lifting, and basic running exercises, which are needed for players to strengthen and condition before a season. Graham gained an overall positive outlook on her future school and is excited to continue her volleyball career at Lamar. Due to her hard work, athleticism, and commitment to volleyball, Jordan Graham is sure to make an strong impact on the volleyball team at Lamar.