This season Washington Elite will have a new face joining their coaching staff. Please welcome Division 1 Libero from Coppin State University, Jen Gell! W.E. is beyond thrilled to have her joining their already strong coaching squad. Jen will be the Head Coach of the Power League team. She will also be assisting her North Kitsap High School Asst. Coach, Kay Makaiwi, on the traveling U16/U17 team.
Coach Jen was a standout Libero for the NK Vikings from 2011-2014, “Jen was one of the best Liberos to come out of North Kitsap” Coach Mak says “clearly, one of the best”. Jen played varsity volleyball under Head Coach Tim French and Asst. Coach “Mak”. During her career as an NK Viking, Jen was named All League Defensive Player of the Year. In 2014, with the help of Gells back row expertise, the Vikings took 5th in state. She then went to Harcum College in Pennsylvania to play volleyball. After Harcum, Gell earned a full scholarship to Division 1 Coppin State University in Baltimore at the end of her sophomore year.
“Playing D1 college volleyball was a whole new level of talent. I realized that there were people out there that had tons of talent and I had to step up, it was crazy! But that talent made me work even harder because in order to be the best you have to play the best.” Sadly, college volleyball careers come to an end senior year, “I miss everything about college volleyball. I miss the excitement of traveling to new places, meeting new people who shared the same love of the game and learning as much as I could. Playing college volleyball could make a bad day go away” says Gell “Now I get to master coaching and I am so excited that it’s with this high class volleyball club.”
Club Director and Head U18 National Coach, Sara Todorovich-Ballas, has always said that she won’t grow her program without the perfect people to step into positions, “Washington Elite is one of the most important things in my life, the people involved i.e. athletes, coaches, and parents are everything to me. I really want to be able to give their kids a great experience where they are learning, being pushed and trained correctly. The type of coach that I bring on has to be able to keep up with the high level of training that we insist our coaches know and understand”.
While being Division 1 PAC 12 alumni, Coach Todorovich-Ballas understands how important playing in college is in order to coach high level volleyball, “You can’t just step into a coaching position from high school and be an elite coach. Being an elite coach takes experience. Being a D1 athlete gives you a tremendous step up in volleyball experience and knowledge. I am beyond elated to have found a perfect fit to our puzzle in Jen. The zest, love and knowledge Jen will bring to our club is undeniably priceless. The options we now have as a club are insurmountable.”
“I hope in joining Washington Elite and this high class group of talent I can help enhance young athlete’s skills so they too can experience a higher level of volleyball. With the experience and knowledge I have of the game, I hope to not only teach these young athletes volleyball skills, but to help shape them into amazing young adults. Volleyball has shaped me as a person and for that I am grateful.” When it comes to her prospective club athletes, Gell is willing to go above and beyond, “I am determined and dedicated in doing whatever it takes to help you accomplish your goals” says Gell.