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GETTING READY TO COLLEGE: La Grande setter Amanda Timm, here at the 3A state tournament, has an athletic scholarship to play volleyball at the University of South Carolina-Aiken. (Observer file photo).
GETTING READY TO COLLEGE: La Grande setter Amanda Timm, here at the 3A state tournament, has an athletic scholarship to play volleyball at the University of South Carolina-Aiken. (Observer file photo).

By Dan Jones

For The Observer

Many little kids are convinced after Career Day that they will be firefighters or teachers.

Recent La Grande High School graduate Amanda Timm said she would be a veterinarian. The grade-schooler's career aspirations never budged.

"I have always wanted to be a veterinarian, it has never changed since I was little," she said. "I loved animals when I was little, and always watched Animal Planet."

Volleyball player was not a title she wanted early on, though. "I didn't want to play in middle school, and then I did and was like, ‘I love this!'" Timm said.

Timm is energetic and optimistic about her future in both fields. The University of South Carolina-Aiken is, too.

The NCAA Div. II school "dug" the setter's game so much so that they gave her a full-ride athletic scholarship. Next year, she will play in the Peach Belt Conference and compete against teams like North Florida and Fayetteville State. Timm, who has played volleyball for more than six years, said she has not even said the words, "South Carolina" too many times.

Remarkably, Timm is one of five players from the La Grande volleyball program who have either received athletic scholarships or signed letters of intent to play college ball, and one of six from that team who probably will play college ball.

The team's 2002 setter, Danielle Tams, played volleyball at Pacific University last year, and this year, Timm's teammates Kaci Lyman (Blinn College, Texas), Caylin Goss (Western Baptist) and Katelin Weaver (Concordia University) signed to play college ball. Another teammate, Kathryn Ely, is getting attention from college scouts, but still has one year left at La Grande.

However, Timm is traveling the furthest distance of any of her teammates, roughly 3,000 miles, to play ball.

"I was really excited because it is so far away and is something new. I can't wait to get there — just to be part of a Div. II school is exciting," she said.

Timm said her father, Brett, spoke with a friend whose daughter was a player there. "They were looking for setters so my dad sent out a tape to them," she said. Soon after, USCA head coach Will Condon called her and asked if she was interested in coming down and seeing the campus. After the visit, Timm knew South Carolina was for her. "I was hooked," she said.

As an incoming freshman, she knows she will have to earn her playing time at USCA, which has a pre-vet school.

"I am willing to work with my team and just to be part of it will be fun. I will actually be competing for a spot as main setter on the team with a junior," said Timm.

In high school, Timm played a bit of middle and outside hitter. She also participated in track and field and earned a trip to the 3A state track meet.

LHS volleyball head coach Teresa Dowdy said Timm is a leader and role model.

"She was setter on our team, a position a lot like the quarterback in football or point guard in basketball. She had to take an important leadership role by deciding what to do with the ball when it came over the net. Her enthusiasm for the game was contagious," she said.

Timm will ship off in August, and plans to stay in touch with her family and friends via e-mail. She has so much to say about them, too.

"I owe it to Mrs. Dowdy. She has taught me everything. She took a chance on me to become setter. I also want to thank my parents for giving me the talent. They were the ones who pushed me to play volleyball," she said.

Dowdy's only regret is that she wishes Timm was closer so she could watch her play. She hopes that the future volleyball players at LHS acquire some of the traits that have elevated Timm to success.

"That whole group of kids (class of 2004 players) brought enthusiasm and dedication the years they were here. They had passion for the game, and that came from within. Hopefully some of the younger kids who saw them will model that," she said.

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