Here at Draper we have some truly amazing and talented people, with some great families. Every now and then, though, we hear of a particularly extraordinary story. Like the one about the volleyball phenom who had already verbally committed to play volleyball in the Big 10 when she was in the eighth grade.

Melani goes in for the kill for her club team.

Melani goes in for the kill for her club team.

You read right. An eighth grade volleyball verbally committed to Minnesota, a Big 10 school. And the recruiters had started contacting her as early as fifth grade—that’s how good she already was.

That player—now a freshman at New Castle High School—is Melani Shaffmaster. Her dad, Patrick, is a Quality Engineer at Draper.

According to a recent article in the Indianapolis Star, an early hint of Melani’s talent and determination came when a crowd gathered to watch her practice her serve. She was three years old, and it was clearing the net. Things just went on from there. Already an extremely talented player, the 6’3” Melani practices hard, even staying after others have left, working on certain aspects of her game.

Earlier this year, her club team (called the Munciana 15 Lorax) were national champs, and went undefeated on the national AAU circuit. They ended with 58 wins and a number one ranking from Prep Volleyball.

It’s hard to believe that such an accomplished player is only a few weeks into her high school career. Earlier in September she’d already been named player of the match three times, according to the Indy Star, and is among the conference leaders in several categories. Again, this is a freshman playing varsity.

“Melani is a good kid who has an outstanding work ethic,” says dad Patrick, who has been with Draper for 12 years. “She is very determined and has very specific goals for her personal, academic and athletic future. She is a good student who has all A’s in school and is involved in other school activities as her schedule allows.”

Congratulations to Melani on her successes thus far—we know there will be many more to come!

To read the Indianapolis Star article about Melani, to whom they refer as a 15-year-old volleyball phenom (and who are we to disagree?) click here.