If you happen to find yourself walking by Dixon on a sunny afternoon in the Spring or Fall, you’ll probably notice the sand volleyball courts and find them buzzing with people. Somebody who will almost surely be out there is Jared Johnson, a graduate student studying Physical Education Teacher Education.
An avid volleyball fan, Johnson takes advantage of any nice days he can get. “Playing sand volleyball has definitely had a positive influence on my experience as a student at OSU,” Johnson said, “It’s fun meeting new people, playing volleyball, and being part of a growing community.”
After two years at Mt. Hood Community College, Johnson decided to transfer to OSU. He started at OSU in Fall 2014. He’d heard there was a men’s club volleyball team (one of 40 club sports offered by OSU), and getting a chance to be on the team became one of his priorities after moving down to Corvallis.
“I really didn’t know what to expect,” Johnson said of the first time he played with the team, “but everybody turned out to be really cool, and it was a lot of fun once we started playing.”
Johnson has been a part of the team for two years now, with his third season approaching this winter. Both Johnson and the team have a lot to live up to this year. Last season Johnson was awarded the MVP of the Pacific Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (PIVA), claiming the title as the first libero (defensive specialist) to win the award. Along with that, the team as a whole won the PIVA regional championship.
Johnson is a native of Gresham, Oregon, where he attended Sam Barlow High School. With both parents being coaches at the high school, sports have been an important part of his life for as long as he can remember.
His father is the coach of the boy’s basketball team, and his mother was the coach of the girl’s basketball and girl’s golf teams. Johnson learned volleyball in part from his aunt, who was the head coach of the volleyball team at another local high school. He attended camps growing up and honed his skills.
Outside of the volleyball courts, you can see Johnson at Dixon lifting weights, swimming, and occasionally playing basketball. “It’s been great getting to know people from Rec Sports,” Johnson said, “It’s just a happy and positive place to release stress and have some fun.”
Along with balancing class and volleyball, Johnson is also one of the student leaders of the IMPACT program, which children and young adults with special needs engage in physical activity. The program takes place on campus at both Dixon Recreation Center and the Women’s Building.
It can be a stressful schedule at times, but he says it’s worth it for everything he gets to experience. The club volleyball season is approaching quickly, with their first tournament being hosted here at Dixon on November 12th and 13th. Johnson is excited for the new season to begin.
“Some of my best experiences in college have come from being part of the team, so I can’t wait for it to start up again.”