Volleyball notebook: Grinnell College's Briggs excels in two sports and classroom

Volleyball notebook: Grinnell College's Briggs excels in two sports and classroom


Volleyball notebook: Grinnell College's Briggs excels in two sports and classroom


Grinnell College’s Michelle Briggs designed a psychology project that focuses on time management. It’s a subject she knows first hand.
Briggs maintains a 3.0 grade-point average at one of the nation’s top academic schools while juggling two sports. She’s a 6-foot-3 middle hitter on the volleyball team and a center during basketball season.
“Our road trip last night, on the way there we are focusing on the game,” Briggs said. “On the bus back, win or lose, we need to get things done. Everyone in their seats has their lights on, everyone is studying or whatever.”
She said she’s interested in pursuing a career in occupational therapy. She spent 10 weeks working on an experiment designed to test memory and time management skills. A computer program simulated a hotel clerk’s activities. Test subjects tried to complete tasks such as sorting coins and locating phone numbers.
Briggs is a research assistant who is finishing her project.
Her two sports overlap at times. Coaches and teammates have helped her succeed.
“It’s definitely not impossible,” Briggs said. “It’s a consistent schedule. I’m practicing from 4 to 6:30 through the whole year.”
Briggs, a senior, leads Grinnell with an average of 2.29 kills and nine total blocks. Her career totals: 623 kills and 294 total blocks.
She’s played both sports since she was a freshman. Briggs came to campus as a basketball player but soon the volleyball coach became interested in her, too.
“I never thought I would play volleyball in college,” said Briggs, who started that sport as a high school freshman. “I was seen or noticed by the volleyball players and coach.”
Her teammates in both sports have helped her become a better student. Each semester throughout college, she’s increased her grade-point average.
“We want each other to succeed,” Briggs said.
Briggs was raised in California but unexpectedly ended up in Iowa. Her father died when she was five years old and her mother knew little about sports.
Her best friend growing up was a basketball player, and the girl’s father was a coach. Briggs tagged along and played the sport. The coach, who had another daughter who attended Grinnell, recommended the school to Briggs.
“I was definitely sheepish about coming to the Midwest,” Briggs said, “but I got out here and I really loved it.”
Her mother, Marize Briggs, is a native Brazilian who moved back home while Michelle was at college. Homesickness went international.
“Being in a separate country was definitely difficult,” Briggs said. “I was transitioning to be an international student.”
Volleyball is big in Brazil. Briggs said she has been eagerly accepted into pickup beach volleyball matches there.
Grinnell’s volleyball season will run into November. She’ll have a brief break before moving on to basketball.
Her advice to those playing for two athletic teams in college? Love both sports.
ALLISON ZOBEL, NORTH TAMA: Zobel, a senior, smashed a season-high 21 kills in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Colo-Nesco. For the week, she led her team to a 4-2 mark. The only losses came to BGM of Brooklyn. She hit .500 or better in three matches and compiled 55 kills while serving 47-of-50. Zobel is averaging 2.61 kills a set and hitting .273.
TAYLOR BUHROW, DENVER: She has averaged 5.84 kills per set, which ranks third in the state, while helping her team to an 11-0 start. She’s hitting .429. Buhrow, a senior, has slapped 27 aces while serving 93.4 percent.
MARISSA STARK, MOUNT VERNON: Stark helped her team to an 8-0 start, including a title in the school’s own invitational. She’s averaged 6.21 digs per set. Mount Vernon has yet to lose a set this fall.
TAYLOR WELLS, ROOSEVELT: The senior leads the state with 42 ace serves.
RACHAEL BEDELL, IOWA: The junior outside hitter has led the Hawkeyes to a 5-2 start. She was named to the all-tournament team in last weekend’s Oakland University Invitational. Bedell smacked 38 kills and had 28 digs while getting double-doubles in two matches. She had 10 kills and 11 digs in a loss to Oakland and 11 kills and 10 digs in a win over Eastern Illinois. Bedell added 17 kills in a win over Toledo.
JADRANKA TRAMOSLJANIN, DRAKE: The senior plays both outside hitter and defensive specialist and succeeds at both offense and defense. She averaged 6.7 kills and 11.7 digs per match in the New Mexico State tournament.
ZORAIDA HEREDIA, IOWA WESTERN: She’s helped Iowa Western to a No. 2 national ranking. Heredia had a season-best 19 kills and three solo blocks in Saturday’s win over Iowa Lakes. Iowa Western also swept Kirkwood and Ellsworth over the weekend.
RAMEY SIECK, WARTBURG: Sieck had 80 assists, 27 kills and 35 digs in three matches in the Wittenberg Invitational. She had a triple-double in a sweep of No. 24 Trinity.
–Iowa at Iowa State, Friday (6:30 p.m.): The rivalry is part of the Cy-Hawk Trophy series. The host Cyclones have won the last seven matches against Iowa, dating to 2003. Iowa enters with a 5-2 record. The Hawkeyes placed Alex Lovell, Nikki Dailey and Rachael Bedell on the all-tournament team of the Oakland University Invitational last weekend. Iowa State swept last year’s match 25-11, 25-16, 25-17. The match is part of the Iowa State Challenge. Iowa will play Syracuse at 10 a.m. Friday and Eastern Washington at 4 p.m. Saturday. Iowa State will face Eastern Washington at 10 a.m. Friday and Syracuse at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. All matches will be played at Hilton Coliseum.
–Southeast Polk Invitational, Saturday (8 a.m.): Twenty teams are scheduled to play in this tournament. Among the programs are four top-10 Class 5-A squads: No. 4 Dowling Catholic, No. 5 Ames, No. 7 Urbandale and No. 9 Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
–Osage Invitational, Saturday (9 a.m.): The field includes Class 2-A top-ranked Dike-New Hartford and 5-A No. 2 Ankeny.
–Check out the Register’s online coverage of high school and college volleyball at DesMoinesRegister.com and Twitter.com/JohnNaughton:
–Follow John on Twitter for updates from Friday’s Iowa-Iowa State match.
–Read about Wednesday’s Northern Iowa at Iowa State match and Tuesday’s No. 2 Ankeny vs. No. 4 Dowling Catholic showdown.
–Videos, weekly chat at 8 p.m. Wednesdays and more.


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