Every so often, Jess Admire attempts to dunk a tennis ball on a 10-foot basketball goal.
Blending components of two sports she doesn’t play in order to gauge her vertical leap for volleyball season, the 5-foot-11 Franklin Community High School right-side hitter is consistent in how high she is able to reach.
“Between 9 feet, 10 inches and 10 feet,” said Admire, a sophomore who helped lead the Grizzly Cubs to a 26-9 record and runner-up status in the Mid-State Conference this past season. She finished with team-high numbers in kills (409), total attacks (893), service aces (54) and digs (203).
“I want to be 6-foot (tall) so bad, but I don’t know if it’s going to happen,” she added, laughing. “But you don’t really need it if you play big.”
THE ADMIRE FILE
Name: Jess Admire
School: Franklin Community
Family: Parents, Jim and Beth; brothers, George, 11, and Joey, 9
Position: Right-side hitter
Favorite food: Waffles
Favorite drink: Coffee
Favorite TV show: “The Voice”
Favorite movie: “The Wedding Singer”
Favorite athlete: Destinee Hooker
Favorite team: Indiana University men’s basketball
Admire does. The Johnson County Daily Journal’s Volleyball Player of the Year for 2012 recorded double-figure kill totals in 22 of Franklin’s 35 matches. Included are the 25 she hit against perennial Class 4A powers Center Grove and Martinsville in matches barely a month apart. She also notched 20 kills apiece in early-season victories against Perry Meridian and Lutheran.
This season’s individual and team accomplishments weren’t surprising to Franklin coach Chris Due, who watched the ninth-grade version of Admire post big numbers in 2011, including 313 kills.
“Jess has a tremendous work ethic. She spends the majority of her time in the gym whether it’s in season or offseason to get better with her passing and attacking skills,” he said. “She gets a lot of support from her family, and they help her achieve. They do a good job of pushing Jess to be the best player and individual she can be.”
Admire holds down an impressive 4.11 grade-point average, which ranks her near the top of her class academically. She’s always excelled in the classroom, but only six years ago did she begin her volleyball journey.
“I started playing in the fourth grade, and my first year of club volleyball was in the seventh grade,” she said, adding, “I’ve made some of my best friends through volleyball.”
Her teammates on this season’s Grizzly Cubs squad certainly qualify. Likewise those individuals Admire frequently comes in contact with as a player for Circle City Volleyball Club during Franklin’s offseason.
The 2012 Franklin team liked to emphasize the three F’s — friendship, family and Franklin — that helped fuel their efforts these past few months. All were and are sure to remain vital ingredients for a program that next summer brings back four of its top five players in kills.
“This season our team just connected so well. The chemistry was fantastic,” Admire said. “All of us got better as the season went on. It was so fun because we have all these team traditions.”
Winning has fast become one of them. You have to Admire that.