The student news site of Jones College Prep High School

Blueprint

The student news site of Jones College Prep High School

Blueprint

The student news site of Jones College Prep High School

Blueprint

Beach baller

Jones student-athlete heads to the beach
POSING Harper Peters announcing commitment to Missouri State University.
POSING Harper Peters announcing commitment to Missouri State University.

On Jan. 7, Harper Peters ‘24 announced on Instagram her commitment to play
Division I (D1) beach volleyball at Missouri State University. 

The announcement was a long time coming for Peters, who had her decision planned since September. 

“I was so excited. I announced it about a month after I committed because I had to wait on a few things before talking about it. But I was so excited and I received so much encouragement and support from my friends and classmates,” said Peters. 

Playing any type of volleyball in college has been a goal of Peters’ since the beginning of high school. 

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“I started recruiting for D3 indoor schools before my freshman year so I’ve been doing it for a while now,” said Peters. “I switched to beach recruiting about a year ago so it was a really stressful time.”

The switch from indoor to beach volleyball was a risk for Peters’ commitment.

“I was fully expecting after switching from indoor to beach that there was not going to be an opportunity to play in college anymore and that was really stressful,” said Peters. “So I am really thankful that it all worked out.” 

The atmosphere of beach volleyball is what drew Peters into the sport. 

“There were a lot of different reasons but I definitely liked the environment more. I find it more welcoming and supportive [than indoor volleyball]. I also enjoy the system and game more,” said Peters.

The differences between beach and indoor volleyball helped Peters pick her which sport she wanted to play in college. 

“The [beach volleyball] court is smaller, it’s two people versus six [indoors]. A lot of the skills differ so instead of being in one position, you are doing all the skills, you’re passing, setting, and hitting. So being able to be an all-around player is something I really enjoy,” said Peters. 

Recent developments in Missouri State University’s program encouraged Peters to join the program. 

“I did a visit this summer and I did a camp and then I got an official tour from them. I really loved how passionate the coach was talking about their program and they put in a lot of work like they just built a new locker room and switched to a more competitive conference. So seeing all the work they put in made me want to contribute,” said Peters. 

Peters’s long travels to practice provided some opportunities for creative time management skills.

“I practice in Darien, Illinois. So it is usually like an hour’s drive every day for practice. It is definitely difficult and I have to do my homework in the car or take a nap or something like that but I’m glad I have somewhere to go play,” said Peters.

The beach volleyball season is a year-round sport that varies in location. 

“From September through May, it is all inside on sand courts in the suburbs. And then after that we go and play outside either on outdoor courts or on the beach,” said Peters.

Beach volleyball has allowed Peters to travel all over the Midwest. 

“Practices are in Lisle for outdoor and tournaments are all along Lake Michigan. To Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and sometimes Indiana,” said Peters.

Many of Peters’s peers have become interested in her journey as well. 

“They look like they have a great program going on there. I immediately followed their Instagram page when I heard about it so I can stay in touch with what’s going on there,” said fellow D1 athlete Sam Berlinghof ‘24.

The process of committing to colleges has provided Peters with connections and peer discussions. 

“We talked about just the process of emailing coaches and what coaches we like and what we like about team cultures,” said Berlinghof. 

Peters’ dedication has not gone unnoticed by her peers. 

“It’s cool that the work we put in and the time we dedicate to something has paid off,” said Berlinghof. 

Even though she is moving on, Peters will miss her support system in Illinois. 

“I am definitely going to miss the girls and coaches at my beach program the most because I am so close with them,” said Peters. “Beach is really special because there is only one other person on the court so you build really important friendships and relationships with your partners.”

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Isabella Guzman '25, Journalism II

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