Jill Snow has collected no shortage of medals and trophies over the years, and now the local volleyball standout and Grade 12 student at Leo Burke Academy has something else to be proud of.
She recently agreed to sign on to play volleyball with the Memorial University Sea-Hawks for the four or five years she will be attending university, starting in the fall. The agreement will allow her to keep playing the sport she loves at the varsity level, and help her financially with the degree in education with a focus in physical education and math she plans on completing.
Snow found herself on MUN's radar after she was scouted at a tournament in Corner Brook in October. A representative from Memorial approached her and asked her if playing for the Sea-Hawks would be something she was interested in. Since that time, Snow has attended several training camps with the Sea-Hawks. She made the deal to play with the team over her scholastic career official just after Christmas.
"It's really exciting but kind of nerve wrecking at the same time, you have expectations to live up to which can be stressful," she said.
Snow said despite the bit of nervousness, she's looking forward to the high competition she'll get out of playing with the team, and is also excited to play alongside some of the girls she's gotten to know through training camps.
Although her skills are undeniable now, Snow said volleyball wasn't always her main sport. In fact, her first time playing volleyball was when her now coach of seven years and Leo Burke Academy teacher Chad Richards picked her up for a junior high tournament when she was only 11 because they needed some extra players.
"Hockey was my main sport back then. I had played hockey since I was four on a boys team," she explained. "So I was probably the most awkward person ever, I had no idea what I was doing."
When Snow came to junior high, Richards asked her to try out for the Leo Burke Academy junior team.
"At first I said ‘well I don't know, it's a lot of time with hockey,' and he kept asking so I figured I had nothing to lose, and I made the team," said Snow. "Right from the first day Mr. Richards worked with me, I guess he saw potential."
According to Richards, although there wasn't much of a difference in her abilities in the beginning, after a couple of years of playing he began to see the potential he noticed come to fruition.
"In the past two or three years you could really notice a difference in her ability and her skill set compared to other girls her same age," he said. "Jill is very athletic, she learns quickly, adapts to situations well and has a great attitude; she wants to learn and improve."
After just two years playing volleyball, Snow made team Newfoundland and Labrador, which she said surprised her at the time, and she said she's made the team every year since. Aside from playing with her high school team, Snow has now made the second cut for the 2013 Canada Games, and plays with a club team based out of Corner Brook which will be going to a national competition in May.
Although Snow is extremely excited about going off to university and playing with the Sea-Hawks next year, she admits she will miss her Leo Burke Academy volleyball team that she has become extremely close with.
"I have a lot of great memories with that team, like last year we won the 3A provincials at home which was just awesome. I remember going up for the final point of the game, and I could just see everyone on the other side of the court moving back for a big hit, and I gave them just a little tip over the top, and the game was over. All the girls just jumped on me," Snow recollected.
Snow said she plans to keep in touch with all her old teammates and Richards while she's serving up her best with the Sea-Hawks.
"I'm very proud of her along with the rest of the school and the community," said Richards.