Heather Olmstead and Roni-Jones Perry win top awards from the Utah Sports Commission for the BYU Womens Volleyball’s performance in 2018.
Both Heather Olmstead and Roni Jones-Perry were recognized for leading the 2018 BYU Women’s volleyball team on another deep run into the NCAA tournament nationally, and now they both have in-state honors for their respective roles in the Cougars’ latest success.
The Utah Sports Commission recognized Olmstead as the Female Coach of the Year and Jones-Perry as the top Collegiate Female in the State of Utah at the 2019 Governor’s State of Sport Awards.
Although both were recognized nationally–Jones-Perry as a 1st-team All-American and Olmstead as National Coach of the Year–the awards continue to demonstrate that BYU Women’s Volleyball is arguably the best program in the BYU Athletic Department.
Since taking the helm of the Lady Cougars after her brother became the head coach for the Men’s Volleyball team, Olmstead has won over ninety percent of her matches, reached three Sweet Sixteens, and one Final Four.
One of her greatest accomplishments, however, was the recruitment and development of Jones-Perry. Although she is from Utah, Jones-Perry is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU’s sponsoring institution, and is the daughter of lifelong Utah Ute supporters. After the Utes failed to recruit Jones-Perry seriously, she committed to BYU, where she made history as an outside hitter.
Olmstead was instrumental in shaping the mentality and ability of the entire squad, perhaps none more than Jones-Perry. Slightly undersized for a top-level outside hitter, Jones-Perry more than compensated with her leaping ability and thunderous right shoulder.
And now they can both add “best of state” to a memorable 2018 season.
The Cougars will miss Jones-Perry in 2019, but Coach Olmstead has proven her ability to reload every time the Cougars have lost a transcendent player like Jones-Perry. Fortunately, Olmstead has sophomore Madelyn Robinson, who played opposite until filling in outside for the injured McKenna Miller late in 2018, and perhaps the best platoon of middle blockers in the country in Kennedy Eschenberg and Heather Gneiting.