Victoria Jones, a senior at Washington High School, knows where she’s going in life.
At least for the next four years.
Jones on Monday, Feb. 27, signed a letter of intent to attend Rio Grande University where she will further her education and continue her athletic career as a member of the Red Storm women’s volleyball team.
Many family, friends, coaches, both former and future, and administrators were on hand to witness the occasion held in the lobby just outside the gymnasium where Jones played for the Lady Lions the past four years.
“I took a couple of college visits,” Jones said. “This one (to Rio Grande) really stuck out. The coach was really nice and I liked how she’s a faith-based person. When I met her and the team manager, it just all set in. She told me her life story.
“When she found out I was left-handed, that really stuck out to her,” Jones said. “With my foot-work right now, she doesn’t want me in the middle. She wants me as a right-side hitter. Going in as a freshman, I don’t expect a lot of playing time.”
What does Jones like to study in the classroom?
“I really liked the science classes with Mrs. Voohris, like Biology and Zoology,” Jones said.
“I want to major in sports medicine,” Jones said. “I don’t know exactly what classes there are to take. I’m still kind of researching that.”
Does Jones have a favorite memory from her high school career?
“One of the best moments was playing varsity my sophomore year,” Jones said. “I played j-v my freshman year and then varsity the next three years. So, that was pretty memorable.”
Jones also played three years of basketball for the Lady Lions.
“My main person that does a lot of my recruiting found her through a recruiting site,” Rio Grande head women’s volleyball coach Billina Donaldson said. “We looked at a couple of videos of her and got to meet the family. She came down for a visit. She watched one of our workouts and she felt like we were a good fit for her.
“After watching her videos, we desperately needed another right-side (hitter),” Donaldson said. “It’s hard to find a right-side, left-handed kid. She’s left-handed and has a nice, heavy hand. She’s going to be a hitter for us. She’ll be a blocker, also, but, mostly we’re recruiting her for that left hand.
“Her first year will be my 10th season,” Donaldson said. “We’ve had a winning program down there every year I’ve been there. We’ve always been one or two games out of the nationals. We’re just trying to find some kids to get us into the national tournament.
“We like to recruit good kids as well as good players,” Donaldson said. “We like her because we know we’re not going to have any problems with her. She’s coming in knowing there are a lot of rules to follow.”
“Victoria is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known,” Washington High School volleyball coach Ashley DeAtley said. “I know she’s going to do great things at Rio Grande and just contribute to their program. She’s going to be a strong hitter and blocker for them.
“We’re really going to miss Victoria this year,” DeAtley said. “She’s a huge block for us. She’s one of those girls that always has a positive attitude and always wants to be on the court. We are definitely going to miss her this year.”
“I would like to thank, most definitely, God,” Jones said. “Then, my parents, they are huge supporters. Then, McKenzee Dunn, Meghan Tucker, Savannah Wallace; they were at, like, every game.
“My club coach, Ruth Ernst,” Jones said. “And Booie (referring to former head coach John Buyer). He was only there for my sophomore year on varsity. And coach DeAtley, my junior and senior year. She was my seventh grade coach, so, I knew her coming in and then Zach (Balahtsis, assistant coach); he’s known me since I came in my freshman year and he’s helped me a ton.”
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1