She Can, She Does: Martinez A Top General for MacArthur
JESSIKA MARTINEZ BELIEVES ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. THE MACARTHUR SOPHOMORE OUTSIDE HITTER AND MIDDLE BLOCKER HAS SEEN IT FIRST HAND.
Her father, Julio, competed with the Cuban National Volleyball team before arriving in Miami 25 years ago by boat. He had a dream of helping people and saw the United States as his ticket.
Julio, now a Spanish teacher at MacArthur High and club volleyball coach, produced opportunities and made the most of them.
“What really inspired me was my dad, because he used to play,” Martinez said. “I just wanted to follow in his footsteps. Along with my coaches, my dad is the main reason I am where I am today. As years have gone by, I found more passion for the sport, and now me getting to where I am today … if I can do this, a lot of other girls can.”
It wasn’t always easy for Martinez.
She started playing volleyball when she was eight years old. Three years later, she played club volleyball, but rode the bench. She rarely got a chance to play and watched other girls get their chance to shine.
Still, Martinez never got frustrated and patiently waited her turn.
It came soon enough.
As a freshman last year, Martinez was crucial in helping the Generals to an undefeated District 14-6A Championship. She averaged 2.6 kills per set with 60 total blocks, ranking second and first on the team, respectively.
“Knowing what I could do to benefit the team, I was sure I had their backs,” Martinez said. “I wanted to be that person they could count on. When we need a point, you know, ‘We’re
counting on you, Jess.’ That’s how I wanted to be looked at.”
The goal this season? Dominate.
“I want to show people that no matter what age you are, you can accomplish it if you put your mind to it,” Martinez said. “Me being a sophomore, doing things that seniors do, is something that’s great.”
Martinez is ambitious. She wants to play college volleyball and has interest in Baylor, Texas, Nebraska and Wisconsin, among others. The best of the best. She hopes to one day play on a national team, like Julio.
The Olympics are also a dream.
“I believe I can do it,” Martinez said. “But I’m seeing where God’s taking me. I just have to keep working and working. I know I won’t see progress right away. I have to be patient, focus on what I’m doing and quality over quantity.”