Jade Rhone has come a long way in four years.
When Rhone arrived at Fisk University, she never imagined she would develop as much as a person or a player. But now as a senior and three-year captain, she understands the gains she has made on and off the court.
“It is a little strange to consider it is coming to an end,” said Rhone, a Port Huron High School graduate. “We push ourselves hard every practice. Leadership always comes pretty easy for me. It’s a natural fit with me and the other captains.
“We have our own style but we work together. My style is to sit back and listen to what they need and help them find a way to be successful as a teammate.”
Rhone got a big surprise when she arrived at the Division 1 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school. She arrived as an outside hitter that had proved dominant at Port Huron High School, but had her position changed to setter. Four years later, she is still leading the offense and setting up her teammates to have success.
“Playing setter especially, has taught me how hard it is for other people positions on the court,” Rhone said. “I always thought the setter had it easy and now I see how hard we made her job. I appreciate how hard my team works for me.”
Rhone is also known for her hard work. She has led the Bulldogs to a 16-10 regular season record and a spot in the American Independent Institutions conference tournament.
“She is always coachable and wonderful to be around,” Fisk University coach Sarah Grams said. “It’s exciting for us at Fisk, having her as a leader. I can understand when she arrived she was quiet. She came in as a silent giant. She found out how much she could give and what a natural born leader she is.
“Putting her in a setting position she made that transition well. She is extremely level headed and focused all of the time. She is always consistent.”
In addition to being consistent and hard working, Rhone is extremely motivated to help her team win the conference championship and qualify for the national tournament.
“We are trying to win our conference tournament,” Rhone said. “I think we are starting to peak but we always have more to give. We just have to continue doing what we have been doing. We have to fight for every ball and every point. We are working on our communication and playing together as a family.”
After she graduates from Fisk University, Rhone, an art major, plans to join the Navy.
“I’ve already looked into their volleyball program,” Rhone said. “They do have a team and they don’t have an age limit. I want to continue playing volleyball as long as my body allows me to.”
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @jhayes1136.