November 26, 2018

Ella Garriott

A TEAM PLAYER — Ella Garriott (above, right), who plays volleyball for Shortridge High School, was named to the Marion County All-City squad. Below, Ella in action during a volleyball match.

It would be easy to say that Ella Garriott, a sophomore at Shortridge High School, becoming the only public school, student-athlete to earn a spot on the Marion County All-City squad was the achievement of a lifelong goal.

But it wasn’t.

Ella Garriott

“I never really thought about it, until a few games before I got it,” said Ella. “That was never really a goal for me. I just happened to get it.”

That’s not to say this achievement, putting Ella in the company of more privileged private-school students, wasn’t the culmination of years of hard work. It just wasn’t the culmination of years of hard volleyball work.

Ella had early dreams of a college scholarship as a softball, then basketball player. It wasn’t until seventh grade that she tried volleyball (“I only started playing because my best friend played”), but she fast became a student of the game.

If you ask her coach, Ella’s success is no accident, and no surprise.

“She’s the owner of the back row for us,” said Shortridge Varsity Volleyball Coach Madeline Mason. “Her error percentage is really low. She’s the type of player you can count on to be there 99.9 percent of the time. She’s really a game changer for us, especially our defense.”

Following the team mantras, like, “How you do one thing is how you do everything,” punches home the life lessons sports can instill, particularly in putting forth maximum effort all the time.

Ella, coach Mason said, reflects that.

“When I think of Ella, I think of her as strong, gritty, determined,” said Mason. “She holds herself up to high expectations, and she’s no-nonsense.”

Ella plays the position of libero, which puts her in a critical back-row position, where she is responsible for guarding the back line and doing the dirty work, diving and digging out balls and keeping them alive.

But while ability has always been there for Ella, coach Mason says her maturity and developing leadership skills truly lifted her to the next level.

“The biggest difference from last year to this has been how Ella has transitioned to a team-over-self mindset,” said Mason. “It’s been really neat to be a part of that personal development, and seeing her take ownership over modeling positivity for the team.”

However, it’s the Blue Devils’ commitment to teamwork that led to the squad’s success, as evidenced by two other Shortridge players, Cortnee Roberts and Sandy Halsmer, being selected to the honorable mention list.

That success has drawn the attention of the district as well.

“Considering all of the talented teams and players out there, Ella earning a spot on the All-City Volleyball Team is a terrific accomplishment,” said IPS Interim Director of Athletics Darren Thomas. “We’re very proud of the season those young ladies had, and are excited to see the program continue to grow moving forward.”

Despite her prominent place on the team, Ella remains humbled by the weight of her accomplishment.

“Finding out I was up there in the same group with all of these talented players is a huge honor, and made me feel really proud,” she said.