Today is the first day of the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Today also marks the two-year-out date for the 2020 Olympic Games. Since the HP Championships are all about identifying, evaluating and developing talent, a true aspirational event on the Path to the Podium, we talked to four athletes Monday, the day before the tournament, to see where they were on their Path.

  • 126 teams from five nations … U.S., Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico
  • 1,900 players … Boys/Girls (13-to-18-years-old); U.S. players are from around the country.

Jasmine Dulan

Kansas City, Kans.
Heart of America
USA Girls’ Select A1

What are your volleyball goals?
My goal is to play in the Olympics. Go there and be on national teams. And to just become better all around.

What would be a next goal?
Just make high school varsity team and … working out at a high level.

Anyone you admire?
For sand volleyball, I really like Misty May. In fifth grade we had to report on someone and I did her for mine. I read her book.

High Performance
We’ve been working on passing a lot, and serve receive, and I think I’ve gotten way better because I wasn’t really taught how to drop step; I just kind of took it on my chest, but I think I’ve improved a lot on that and just passing in general. I play outside, but I think I’m going to become a libero, maybe in a couple of years because I’m very undersized.

I really like it. This is my second year here. Since I know my team it’s less stressful and more fun. I would recommend it to people. It’s a good experience to have.

Rosana Hicks

Fayetteville, Ark.
Delta Region
USA Girls’ Youth Continental White

The Olympic Games
I would love to go to the Olympics and represent my country. That would be the ultimate dream for me.

Anyone you admire?
Karch Kiraly to me, as a coach, is very inspiring. His story and everything that he’s done, like playing in the Olympics himself and then going into coaching and then being an Olympic coach. I feel like that’s just inspiring to me

High Performance
This (HP) has been a phenomenal experience, because I’m the youngest person on my team, so coming out and seeing everything has been awesome and then getting to see people from different countries, meeting new people is one of the reasons why I love this sport so much.

Any skills you’re working on?
I’m an opposite/outside. I have learned many things (this week), mostly I’m working on my passing, getting my angles to the setter and more to target, just getting the ball higher.

What is your Podium?
At the moment, I’m just trying to get a college scholarship. That’s where I’m at right now and then once I do that, I feel like I’ll add more long-term goals.

Tyler Jack

San Jose, Calif.
Northern California

The Olympic Games
I watch the Olympics in general, doesn’t matter what sport it is. And it’s nice to see the American teams do well.

Anyone you admire?
Matt Anderson is a big one. Just to see how athletic he is and how well he can play as a teammate and as an individual … it’s really cool to see.

High Performance

I just got here last night, and this is my first day here. It’s nice because everybody here is a super good player. The level of play is good and you have to learn how to jell with different players, jell as a team. It’s not as much about your skill but how good of a teammate you are, along with your skill, which is really cool to see.

Any skills you’re working on?
Mostly passing, you can never get good enough at passing, really. I started out as a middle. When I transitioned to outside and it was a little bit different, so … I’ve always been working on passing as long as I’ve been playing. It’s probably going to be the thing that I’m always working on no matter how old I am.”

What is your Podium?
I’m hoping to make A1 next year, but along with that my club, Mountain View, I’m hoping that we medal, and hopefully win gold next year at Boys’ Junior Nationals. Most people always want to do good, right? I’m also hoping to do well at this tournament.

Spencer Thomas

Eldridge, Iowa
Iowa Region

What are your volleyball goals?
I just want to take volleyball just as far as I can go with it. If I’m not meant to play in college, then that’s the way it is. Then maybe find a coaching job or try and become a club director. I just want to play volleyball for as long as I can.

What would be a next goal?
Maybe to play in college.

Anyone you admire?
I definitely like Matt Anderson and Micah Christenson. They are two of the people I watch a lot.

What do you like about volleyball?
I like the team aspect of it and how you’re always moving on the court. Even if you’re in the back row and your team tries to hide you, you’re still going to touch the ball.

High Performance
We’ve been playing together for a long time. Three of us play on a club team together. Most of us played on the team together last year. This is my fourth year of doing Iowa HP. I like the good coaching; there’s a good coaching staff. You get good feedback from people you wouldn’t normally see at your own club on a daily basis. I like the people that I meet. There’s so many people that I’ve met just from Iowa HP in general. And it’s always a high energy, high level of play.