ROCKINGHAM — If you would’ve asked Altman Griffin a year ago if she saw herself signing a letter of intent to play college volleyball at UNC-Wilmington a couple of months before she graduated, her answer would’ve been a definite “no.”
Luckily for her, though, she didn’t have to answer that question.
Instead, Griffin was allowed to grow into an improved version of herself on the court through camp visits, this past school season and a recent run with her Triangle Volleyball Club team out of Raleigh. And now, after putting the pen to paper in the Richmond Senior library Wednesday afternoon, the senior can officially say she’s a future Lady Seahawk.
“I’m kind of nervous still — I don’t know why — but it’s really exciting to know it’s done and I can just focus on going to UNCW now,” Griffin said. “Going to Triangle and playing up there has helped me so much … It’s crazy just knowing what I can do and how I’m going to continue improving when I get to UNCW.”
In her last two seasons at Richmond, Griffin was at the forefront of the volleyball program’s turnaround — leading the team to back-to-back conference championships while winning back-to-back Conference Player of the Year awards.
As a senior, she helped the Lady Raiders finish the regular season undefeated, break the school record for most wins in a season (25) and earn a No. 2 seed — the highest seed in school history — in the 2017 NCHSAA 4A State Playoffs.
“This school wasn’t really a volleyball school, and I guess still isn’t, but in the last two years we’ve made it a lot different and just put volleyball out there for people to see,” Griffin said. “Me committing can show younger girls that even though they might not think they can, they can definitely do whatever they want.”
The UNCW volleyball team has seen success in recent years — making the NCAA Tournament in 2015 — but is coming off its first losing season since 2012. With a young roster returning, Richmond’s head volleyball coach Shellie Wimpey believes Griffin will get an opportunity to play early on.
That same kind of leadership and determination she displayed as an upperclassman for the Lady Raiders will bode well for Griffin as she gets acclimated to a new program on a new level.
“I think that her being on her new club team has really prepared her to play with, and against, good competition. I think she’s going to be able to go and compete for a position on the court,” Wimpey said.
“This is her dream, what she really wanted to do, and it’s happened. So I’m really happy for her.”
Once Griffin settles into her dorm this fall, her first order of business will be to find a spot on the beach with her future roommate, former volleyball teammate and bestfriend Brianna Baysek.
They’ve already agreed that taking advantage of the school’s location will be something they do “every single day.”
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.