Meet Your 2022-2023 Coaching Staff!
Sara has coached at many different places - Northern Lights, Shakopee, and Burnsville, and at many different levels; 18's - 12's. Her favorite level is the beginners. It's so fun to see the look on their faces and feel the excitement wen they start putting all of their skills together. She appreciates how they are all so supportive of each other on and off the court. She loves the energy of the 12's. She is also very competitive. She enjoys the close matches the most - fighting and persevering as a team, and coming out on top is so fun to be a part of during the match. She hopes to instill perseverance, hard work, friendship, and the love of volleyball to all who play and watch the game. "If you are not having fun, you are not playing volleyball."
This is Bree's first year coaching at Thunder JO Volleyball! She played competitively for 5 years for her school in Jordan, 2 years for her JO club in Jordan, and 2 years for High Voltage JO. Prior to coaching for Thunder, she coached a youth multi-sport camp. Regardless of the age and ability level of the players, Bree strives to create a positive environment that validates players' self-worth and a lifelong love for the game. Off the court, Bree works at Subway. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors and with her friends!
Whitney Markson (Sorensen)
Whitney has been coaching at Thunder JO Volleyball for 8 years on a variety of teams from U13s-U16s and she coached JV at Burnsville High School. She also played competitively for 8 years playing club at Thunder JO Volleyball from ages 12-18 and for her high school at Burnsville on JV & varsity. Whitney loves helping players learn how to be great teammates by showing them how to work their hardest at all times, teaching how to encourage each other, and doing activities to have fun as a team! Off the court, Whitney works as a physical therapist (she LOVES treating volleyball players!) for NovaCare Rehabilitation. And in her free time, Whitney loves to spend time with her husband and son especially when they get to go outdoors to hike, camp, or visit national parks.
Jim has been coaching at Thunder JO Volleyball for 16 years from U13-U17. In addition to his volleyball coaching experience, he has been coaching youth sports for over 25 years. He started coaching boy's baseball & basketball for both of his sons and girl's basketball for his daughter. Jim loves to continue learning about volleyball by listening to podcasts, attending clinics, and talking with other coaches. Jim is passionate about teaching players how to be successful on the volleyball court as a team and how to take those skills to be successful in life. Outside of coaching, Jim works in IT and loves to spend time with his family including his wife, 3 children + 2 children-in-law, and 4 grandchildren!
This is Rachel's first year coaching for us at Thunder! She is an alumn of the Thunder JO Volleyball program and has 3 years of volleyball coaching experience. In addition to volleyball, Rachel has 8 years of youth coaching experience in basketball and tennis. Rachel is passionate about youth in sports and believes being a student-athlete cultivates life skills that help our players become successful and well-rounded on and off the court. Rachel follows the "plan, do, review" method and her coaching philosophy builds upon these main pillars: 1) Show up for yourself and your team, 2) Attitude and mindset control your lense, 3) Focus on what you can control, 4) Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard, and 5) Life goes on. Rachel is originally from Burnsville and went to college at the College of Saint Benedict, where she played varsity tennis and club volleyball while majoring in Communication and Psychology. Outside of coaching, Rachel works as an IT Strategy Consultant, and in her free time, she loves playing volleyball, hanging out with her fiance (Jared) and pups (Enzo and Indie), working out, and being goofy!
Kris is new to Thunder Volleyball this year. Prior to joining the coaching staff, Kris coached for over 15 years at various levels including college, high school, and middle school. Kris attended Ohio University where she earned her bachelor's degree in outdoor recreation and her master's degree in coaching education. She played for the Bobcats on a full athletic scholarship where she specialized as a middle and outside hitter. Kris especially enjoys coaching young individuals through the developmental stages of learning body mechanics and applying proper movements as they mature into successful athletes. Off the court, Kris is a Health and Physical Education teacher at Eagle Ridge Academy in Minnetonka; she enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with her family. She resides in Burnsville with her husband and three kids.
This is Ari's first year coaching at Thunder! She has some coaching experience from recreational leads but is looking forward to coaching the 15s this year! She is excited to learn more about her players, their learning styles, and how to help them improve. She has played volleyball for roughly 5 years, and 3 of those years at Thunder herself. She strives to help others around her and is pleased to be here. Outside of volleyball she works at Hy Vee and is a senior at Eagan High School. She enjoys being outside, exercising, hanging out with friends and family, and reading!
This is Kelly's first year coaching at Thunder JO Volleyball! She has assisted in coaching two years of EAA youth recreational volleyball. She played volleyball at Thunder JO for three years as well as two years of high school volleyball. Kelly strongly believes in teaching life lessons through volleyball. She works not only to help kids improve as volleyball players but to help them grow as individuals. Kelly strives to create a positive environment that will fuel players' passion for volleyball! Off the court, Kelly works at HyVee! Next year, she plans to attend The University of Alabama to study Nursing. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her friends and family!