Never Give Up: Ajimotokan overcomes bumpy start to career to become State Champion

Never Give Up: Ajimotokan overcomes bumpy start to career to become State Champion (Copyright (c) 2021 VYPE - All rights reserved)

WACO - Fort Bend Christian Academy sophomore Oyinkansola Ajimotokan lives with the mentality to never give up.

That mantra has carried her through her volleyball career, which didn't begin with her actually playing on the court, but rather watching from the stands.

"In the sixth grade I didn't play but I went to all the volleyball games," Ajimotokan said. "I wanted to play. In the seventh grade, I was a practice player."

But Ajimotokan wanted to play at FBCA. She wanted to play volleyball.

Finally, in the eighth grade Ajimotokan made the team as a middle. The next year, she started playing club volleyball which elevated her game to the next level and earned her a spot on the Junior Varsity squad in her freshman season. By the end of last season, she had moved up to the varsity squad but just coming off the bench.

Another club season came and went this past summer and Ajimotokan got even better. Her hard work earned her a starting spot on Alex Edwards' 2021 FBCA varsity volleyball squad.

On Saturday, with FBCA leading 24-17 and just one point away from their first-ever TAPPS Volleyball State Championship, after a stellar dig the ball was set into the air in the middle by Shea Stone. Launching from her spot was Ajimotokan - the sixth grader who couldn't make the team and the seventh grader who was just a practice player - who hammered the ball with her right hand.

"When I hit, I closed my eyes and I heard the block, 'I was like oh man I just got blocked'," Ajimotokan said. "But then I opened my eyes and the block was in the net. I was like 'Oh my God, yes!'. I just won the last point."

As the ball hit the court, the score ticked up to 25-17 on the scoreboard inside West High School and celebratory pandemonium set in, except for Ajimotokan, at least initially.

"I forgot it was the last point," Ajimotokan said with a laugh. "So, I turned around, I saw everyone on the ground and I just jumped on the huddle."

Jumping onto the pile as a state champion is something Ajimotokan couldn't stop smiling about. And thanks to her "never give up" mentality, was one she got to fully experience on the court instead from in the stands.

“It gets hard sometimes and you feel like you’re not really adding anything to the team, like I had an up and down year this season but I had to keep the mentality to never give up,” Ajimotokan said. “I have my family and friends surrounding me, supporting me and loving me so I just needed to never let myself get down.”