FORT WAYNE – As the Division II Ohio Player of the Year at his high school in Columbus, and named a second-team prep All-American, Anthony Randolph was the poster-child definition of a recruiting find for the IPFW volleyball team. He was a 6-foot-4 hitter with high hopes, stepping into a program that had recently played for the national championship.
But Randolph never did reach the stardom that was hoped, or projected, for him. He spent much of his first three IPFW seasons standing with teammates during matches, patiently waiting for a nod from coach Arnie Ball that would insert him into the lineup.
Last year was his busiest, playing 20 matches and starting six. Even this season, with the Mastodons at 2-2 and having played 16 total sets, Randolph – one of two seniors on the team – has played nine. He has six kills, three digs and a service ace.
Yet he remains a team leader.
It takes a special mentality to be able to do that, especially over time, Ball said. Those people are so important when you look at any kind of team. A guy gets hurt; boom, you need somebody in there. Guy gets sick, boom, you need somebody in there. Guy isn’t playing well, boom, you need somebody in there. It’s hard to find people who fill those roles, and he’s done that.
Randolph has learned it through the years.
With his high school credentials and success, Randolph came to IPFW with lofty self-expectations but eventually accepted his job as a role player; although the acceptance wasn’t always the case.
When you want to come in here thinking that you’re some big hotshot, you’re going to have a lot of talks with the boss over there, Randolph said, then glanced in Ball’s direction. I had a few. I’m sure we all had a few with him.
It is rough at first. You look at every single guy, and they were the guy’ on their (high school) team. You can either learn the hard way, and not be a team player, or you can accept your role and make the team better for it. I had a hard time my freshman year, I’ll be honest. But coach preaches to us, the team; the team; the team.’ I really bought into that. What if your team wins the national championship? You’re still part of that national championship team.
Yeah, I’m not playing, but I’m going to push the guys who are playing.
Athletes of note
Saint Francis seniors Rex Drabenstot (Huntington North), Anthony Moore (Bishop Luers), Lance Carey (Leo) and Brice Darling are repeat selections to the Mid-States Football Association All-Academic team. The only other area player selected was junior Devon Rush (Snider). Saint Francis juniors Scott Kohne (Bishop Dwenger) and Skylarr Shurn were named Crossroads League men’s and women’s basketball players of the week. Shurn scored 25 points in the Cougars’ victory over previously No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan. Kohne averaged 20.3 points and 10.5 rebounds in Saint Francis’ two games. Indiana Tech senior Adella King was named WHAC women’s track athlete of the week after winning the 60-meter dash (7.48) and placing second in the 200-meter dash (24.67) at the Tiffin University Carnival. Tech junior Rachael Kruse (Homestead) was selected as the WHAC women’s basketball player of the week. In two Tech victories, Kruse averaged 23.5 points and 5.0 rebounds. Manchester senior Corey Marchant (Bishop Dwenger) was selected to the D3baseball.com preseason second team, and senior Bryce Murphy (Norwell) was named honorable mention. Marchant, who was the MVP in the HCAC last season, is a shortstop. Murphy is a pitcher and utility player. Manchester senior Zeth Baker (DeKalb) won the mile (4:23.19) and 800 meters (1:59.48) at the Rose-Hulman Friday Night Invitational and was named HCAC men’s track athlete of the week.