Oakland volleyball player selected as 2017 CLASS Award candidate

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Oakland volleyball player selected as 2017 CLASS Award candidate

Sammy Condon became

Sammy Condon became

courtesy of Oakland Athletics

Sammy Condon became

courtesy of Oakland Athletics

courtesy of Oakland Athletics

Sammy Condon became

Katie LaDuke, Staff Reporter

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On Oct. 3, it was announced that Oakland University volleyball’s Sammy Condon was selected as a candidate for the 2017 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate volleyball. Condon was one of 30 NCAA student-athletes nominated.

“[Condon] is just so capable and very deserving of the award,” Oakland volleyball Head Coach Rob Beam said. “She has put in so much time and effort not just in her sport and her academics but also in all of the community service work that she does.”

CLASS is an acronym for “Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School.” To be eligible for this award, student-athletes must be an NCAA Division I senior with excellent accomplishments in the areas of competition, character, community and classroom.

As a fifth-year redshirt senior from Naperville, Ill., Condon is no stranger to competition, having started playing volleyball in fifth grade. Condon played the sport very competitively throughout her school years where she fell in love with volleyball and knew she wanted to continue playing at the highest level possible.

“[Condon] came in as a very mature freshman,” Beam said. “She was immediately trusted by the team and by the coaching staff. She’s extremely responsible, very disciplined and dedicated to everything that she does.”

Over the seasons, Condon has grown tremendously with Oakland volleyball and has stepped up as a leader, being a captain for four years. Beam explained that her main improvement has come from “managing a desire to be perfect.”

While playing any sport, there is no way to be perfect. This is where practice and dedication makes an athlete be the best they can be. With Condon’s drive, she has become a mature and an integral part of a team comprised of more than half underclassmen.

“I think everyone looks up to her as a role model both in word and action,” Beam said. “She’s always setting a very high example for our team.”

Condon’s drive does not end on the court. Throughout the years, Condon has dedicated much of her time to giving back to the community. Some of the service projects include being a member of Oakland University’s Love Your Melon crew, helping out at OUCARES, reading to elementary students for March is Reading Month and volunteering at the Susan G. Komen 3-day Walk for the Cure.

This past summer, Condon participated in her favorite service project. She spent a week at Camp Quality, a camp where kids with cancer are just kids, as a personal companion to one of the campers to help make their camp experience the best it could be.

“I think it’s important to give back,” Condon said. “You get a lot of reward out of it. It’s just a cool experience that helps others that need it more than you.”

Condon has even spent time coaching younger kids, which helped her make her decision of majoring in elementary education. As a four-time Horizon League Honor Roll selection, two-time Horizon League All-Academic selection and 2013-14 member of the Dean’s List, Condon has managed to keep her GPA at a solid 3.75.

Keeping a GPA that high can be a challenge in itself for a typical college student, let alone a student-athlete. Challenges are prone to present themselves, so time management and prioritizing is critical when dealing with athletics and academics.

“It has definitely made me be more organized,” Condon said. “I wasn’t very organized before when I was younger. That quickly caught up to me, and I realized I needed to change my ways and change my habits.”

There’s only a few more months until Condon’s five-year journey at Oakland comes to a close with graduation in the spring. The major takeaway Condon sees is the way being an athlete has shaped her all-around as a person.

“Being a student-athlete pretty much my whole life has given me the skills and the drive to succeed in all I do,” Condon said. “I think that has prepared me greatly for after college. I’m excited to see where it takes me.”

The 30 Senior CLASS Award candidates will be narrowed down to 10 finalists halfway through the regular season. The winner will be announced in December during the 2017 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship.