All-American athlete

Senior selected for Under Armour All-American Game Camp and Series


Photo submitted by Sample

Sample and her teammates celebrate after scoring a point.

As the whistle blows, a volleyball is tossed in the air and served across the net. The ball is hit into the air by the libero, and senior Harmony Sample springs up and sets the ball to be spiked — a move she has been perfecting since first grade. 

After playing volleyball for 11 years, Sample was selected as one of 24 players nationwide to participate in the Under Armour All-American Game Camp and Series. The event will be hosted in Orlando on Dec. 30, and some of the nation’s most skilled players in various sports are hand-picked to train and then compete. 

“I was super excited to be picked,” Sample said. “I love [volleyball] because of the team aspect and being part of something bigger than myself, so I’m glad I can do that [in Orlando].” 

In order to be selected, athletes had to either be nominated or reviewed by an All-America Selection Committee for an Under Armor Next Camp Series. From there, they were evaluated and only a select group of students were picked. 

“I was chosen because there was someone [from the camp] who recruited all throughout last year,” Sample said. “She went to a lot of different club tournaments and then invited a bunch of people to different Under Armour camps. From there, they [observed] us during the camp and then later notified those selected.”

Sample started on the varsity team since her freshman year and played both setter and outside right side. She’s also built her skills through participation in club teams like Instinct, Texas Advantage Volleyball and Mad Frog. As a result of her work ethic, head volleyball coach Karin Keeney said although she was excited to learn of Sample’s selection, she wasn’t surprised.

“She’s one of the hardest working athletes,” Keeney said. “She always sets a high standard for everyone else to follow and goes above and beyond all the time. I was super excited to learn she was accepted since she will only be [Hebron Volleyball’s] third All-American, but it honestly didn’t surprise me because of all the success she’s had in both high school and club volleyball.” 

Keeney said Sample’s determination and constant desire to improve, combined with her knowledge and skills, is one of her biggest strengths and one of the main reasons she’s been so successful. 

“Whenever we do challenges, she’ll stick to it until she gets it done,” Keeney said. “For example, when we did consecutive double jumps with a jump rope, which can be very difficult, she spent two hours double jumping because she didn’t get what she wanted. She’s just an overachiever, which is why she’s in the position she is right now.” 

Sample’s teammate and co-captain, senior Alessandra Pantoja, who has known her for eight years, said Sample has always been a determined player and she wasn’t surprised when she learned she was going to be an All-American.

“As soon as Coach Keeney told me, I didn’t think there was anyone else more deserving,” Pantoja said. “I wasn’t surprised that she got it because of the amount of work she puts in behind the scenes.” 

After Sample competes in the Camp Game and finishes her senior year, she will go on to play volleyball at Notre Dame. She committed in her junior year after touring several major colleges.

“There were a lot of things I liked about Notre Dame,” Sample said. “I would say the biggest one was the academics. I always knew I wanted to go to a really good academic school. When I started narrowing the list down, Notre Dame was definitely my number one option.”

Hebron hosted a “Commitment Day” for seniors who committed to colleges for athletics on Nov. 10 (Photo via Hebron volleyball)

Keeney said in both the All-American Camp Game and Series as well as college, she believes Sample will thrive. She said the most significant change Sample has undergone in her time at Hebron has simply been her confidence. 

“I think it’s been the most fun watching her confidence and emotional level grow,” Keeney said. “She’s more of a competitor now. She’s always been one, but in the past, she didn’t want to be flashy. She would’ve rather shrunk into the background, but now she understands she has a gift that she’s worked hard for. She wants to be successful and lead her team, and recognizes that it means she has to stand up.”