By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Up to the last minute, some media members attending the signing of Tipton-Rosemark Academy’s Jordan Allen were not 100-percent sure of what sport she would be playing in college.
First making her name on the TRA campus for softball helping the Lady Rebels reach State, she has not played that sport since 2018. Allen has been a key force for the Lady Rebel Basketball team helping TRA reach State for the first time in 2020.
Then there was her volleyball accomplishments like helping TRA capture the 2020 West Regional title her senior campaign. The sport that captured the heart of Allen a couple of year ago was her choice for the next level – Christian Brothers University Lady Bucs Volleyball.
With her parents Natalie and Brandon by her side in the TRA Gymnasium, Jordan made it official by signing her letter of intent to joining Head Coach Bre Lewis and the Lady Bucs.
Allen’s high school coach Amy Weatherington said the talented player coaches, teammates, fans and media saw in multiple Lady Rebel uniforms had her doubts this day would come.
“She wanted to play in college all along,” she said. “She didn’t think that she could actually do it but I knew all along she would play at the next level. I’m so proud of her for pushing and reaching her goals.”
Doubts crept into Allen’s mind because of her season-ending ACL injury her sophomore year and a global pandemic to close out her junior season.
“We never missed a beat,” Natalie recalled. “We tried to keep her thinking positively. As a parent you teach her not to take any day for granted.”
Flying through her freshman year earning varsity spots in multiple sports and contributing to a State runner-up softball team, Allen was sailing along when the knee injury struck. Going through a year of rehab and watching from the sidelines gave Jordan a new perspective on all the sports she enjoyed playing.
Parting ways with softball, Allen gave more time and dedication to basketball and her first love.
“Volleyball has been her favorite,” Natalie said. “We love it and we loved watching her in all of them. But that really happened over the last two years. It was going to be a toss up between basketball and volleyball. She choose volleyball.”
Weatherington and the Lady Rebels watched Allen blossom into an all around force attacking the net on offense. Her defense with timing blocks and diving for digs improved.
“Jo brought heart more than anything,” Weatherington said. “She embodied our motto of ‘all heart.’ She just brought a positive attitude. Nothing is going to get in her way after her injury. During the season she was always going to overcome the obstacle.
“Leadership, she grew so much from her junior year to her senior year,” she added. “She played with that urgency. She would always talk to her teammates about having a season-ending or career-ending injury and how about how you don’t want to live with any regrets. She was such a big leader on our team.”
Coach Lewis and her CBU staff gave an offer to Allen because of her play on the court and leadership off it. Allen said the great atmosphere at CBU, academic requirements and close location eventually won her over.
“My hard work and effort, every time I got on the court or field, no matter the sports, you play with your heart because you never know when it going to be the last time,” Jordan said. “That has been my mindset ever since that year and has never gone away.”
Playing a crucial part in the basketball and volleyball teams making history, Allen used her experiences to motivate her teammates.
“After talking about m y injury this year with my teammates, we had multiple people with injures,” she said. “So we all knew how it felt to have something taken away from us. We’ve been to Sub-State multiple times and got put out by the same team multiple teams. But it was still all worth the work.”
The talent was always there. The work ethic was seen by many who encountered Allen. The final hurdle she had to overcome was getting a chance to hit the courts her senior year.
“I really didn’t think we would be playing anything because of the way it was going earlier this year,” she acknowledged. “It was scary at that point because I didn’t know if I wanted to go to college playing a sport or not. I only had two years of (volleyball) with my injury. Only two years of film, so I was scared about that.
Allen got her senior year and two trips to Sub-State from volleyball and basketball. She got a chance to make new memories like beating St. George’s in volleyball and celebrating with her classmates. She enjoyed the road Sub-State win to reach the second round.
And another great memory was clinching the basketball program’s first trip to Nashville.