December 5, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Two local products – Jamie Hammond of Anna-Jonesboro and Emily Burkitt of Christopher – have accepted scholarship offers to play volleyball at John A. Logan College next fall.

Hammond is a 6-foot-1 middle hitter, who recently earned River to River All-Conference and All-South honors for her work this fall. She was also named All-Tournament at both Massac County and Herrin.

“Jamie is going to be an important addition to our team,” said Vols head coach Bill Burnside. “We are losing several quality athletes with size, including Kierra Nolan from Murphysboro and Chynna Byars from Cisne. These losses are not easily replaced at the junior college level, but Jamie is definitely going to help fill the void. She has great size and a ton of potential. She is going to provide a sizeable block in the front row and has the potential to become a high-quality collegiate hitter, as well.”

Burnside said he has been watching Hammond play since her freshman season.

“Jamie has developed well under the tutelage of her coach (Angie Fitzgerald-Wilson). I think she has become a premier high school player in our region. I hope that I will be able to continue her development at the collegiate level and get her to the point where she can eventually contribute at an NCAA school in the future.”

Hammond said she is “looking forward” to the opportunity to play college ball.

“I really wanted to continue my volleyball career. I’m very excited about going to Logan and competing for a job. It will be a lot different than high school, but I think I am ready for it.”

Hammond said she has played the middle hitter position since junior high, but will gladly shift to the right side if asked.

“Whatever helps the team the most,” she said. “I feel like hitting is my strong point. I still need to work on blocking the ball and need to improve my footwork around the net.”

Burkitt is a 5-foot-9 outside hitter, who led her Bearcats team to a regional championship before the team bowed out in the sectional finals to Valmeyer. She was selected Black Diamond All-Conference all four years and All-South three years. She was named to All-Tournament teams at Fairfield, West Frankfort and Herrin.

“Emily is one of the premier athletes in Southern Illinois,” Burnside said. “She has great quickness, leaping ability, and power. She has been critical to Christopher’s success for the last couple seasons. Coach (Katie) Pettit will have a difficult time filling her shoes next season. As a collegiate hitter, Emily has all the basic athletic traits you look for. The quickness and explosiveness are there, but like every other high school player, she is not yet a finished product.

“Passing technique, defensive posture, and hitting technique will all need to be polished to be productive at this level,” Burnside said. “I am very glad to see that Emily will be playing club volleyball again this spring. The experience and practice will definitely pay off next season.”

Burkitt said choosing Logan was the logical choice for her as it is both close to home and a successful program.

“They have had a great deal of success the last several years. I just hope I can help keep the team successful.”

Burkitt said she can’t wait to test her skills at the collegiate level.

“I want to push myself to be better and I think I can do that at Logan. It helps when you are part of an entire team that has that same drive to succeed. I just love the game.”