After playing four sports up until her sophomore year in high school which included basketball, softball, track and volleyball, Brittney Thomas felt overwhelmed in trying to keep up with every single sport, and chose to focus on her one sport, her one passion: volleyball.
Thomas was born in Iowa City, but moved to Marion at the age of 10 where she grew up and graduated from Marion High School. Thomas is now a senior at Mount Mercy University and is majoring in accounting, finance and management.
“After my freshman year I realized that volleyball was my passion,” Thomas said. “I quit softball because as a pitcher I was constantly tearing up my shoulder, making volleyball practices difficult and painful. That winter I quit basketball to focus on the year round club volleyball team I joined. The club season went from mid to late November and continued until July. I had no time to put my effort into another sport. I did, however, stay in track to keep up my conditioning. I ran 100's, 200's and 400's and long jumped all four years.”
When you see Thomas on the court, she is not your standard six-foot tall outside hitter. She is only 5’9’’, but has been a big asset to the Mount Mercy Volleyball team. In 2009, Thomas had the most kills on the team with 504 as a freshman. This past year in 2011, she set a record for most kills in a single season for the school at 516, along with other accolades on her résumé. Recently, she has received an all-tournament achievement in a tournament the Mustangs hosted, The Zio Johnos Invitational, in late August.
“A real positive thing is Brittney has recognized her growth as a person and player,” said Rick Blackwell, head coach of the volleyball team. “Some kids come out of high school and don't want to learn or change. Not Brittney. She has soaked up as much as she can from former assistant coach Krista Johnson, current assistant Austin Filer and Coach Marlin, as well as the upper-classmen.”
Thomas said she had a couple of different scholarship offers to play volleyball, but chose Mount Mercy because it was closer to home.
“I'm very close to my parents and two little sisters and I wanted to be around as they went through high school,” said Thomas. “Also, when I visited here my junior year of high school, I connected instantly with the business professors and the small campus life. I talked with a few small division one schools that were extremely far away from home but I wanted my family to be able to come watch and visit more often than an airplane flight once or twice a year.”
Thomas wishes she would have gone to a larger school to experience more but she wouldn't change coming to Mount Mercy for any other experience.
“If you would have asked me my freshman year in high school which sport I would go to college for, I would have told you basketball,” said Thomas. “But volleyball is my life. I live for every practice and game. I love how I can completely lose myself in the game and forget each and every issue that complicates my day. Volleyball is my main stress reliever. If I could continue to play at this level of competition for the rest of my life, it would be a no brainer, I would play forever.”
After Mount Mercy, Thomas will have a job as an accountant at Transamerica in Cedar Rapids, where they offered her a position after an internship this past summer. In the long term, Thomas wants to teach and coach club, high school and eventually at the college level at some point in her life.
“The game has given me so much and I want to teach others how much it can truly change your life if you allow it. After I get enough experience in the business world, I would like to teach at a private institution like Mount Mercy and give back what I have learned.”
This Student Profile was written by Jun Endo, Assistant Sport Editor, and was originally published in the Mount Mercy Times in the September 26, 2012, issue.