St. John's Volleyball Alumni Spotlight: Catching Up With Darlene Ramdin|
April 22, 2014
QUEENS, N.Y. – Darlene Ramdin, a former St. John’s middle blocker/outside hitter, is now playing professionally for TFOC in France. Originally from Trinidad & Tobago, Ramdin was a member of the Red Storm from 2008-11 and made her mark on the program by becoming the seventh member of the 1,000-kill club and finishing her career with 1,234 kills – the sixth-most all-time.
The two-time All-BIG EAST Second Team performer also has the third-most blocks in program history with 392. Ramdin was also a member of the 2008 squad that won the BIG EAST Regular Season Championship.
During her senior season in 2011, Ramdin led the Red Storm in kills (355), kills per set (3.06), total blocks (114), blocks per set (.98), points (436), and points per set (3.76). Ramdin’s work on and off the court that year resulted in her becoming one of the 10 finalists for the prestigious Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.
Ramdin was a communication arts major and three-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star. She maintained a 3.39 cumulative grade point average (GPA) and helped guide the Red Storm to two AVCA Team Academic Awards (2008-09, 2010-11). Ramdin was a two-time recipient of the St. John's University Athletic Director's Honor Roll Bronze Medallion (Fall '09, Fall '10), which is awarded to a SJU student-athlete who earns a GPA between 3.0 and 3.49.
Ramdin recently spoke to RedStormSports.com about her time at St. John’s and being a professional athlete.
Q: What is your fondest memory of your time at St. John’s?
A: It was definitely all those lovely beach runs during pre-season, of course! (Laughs) The best memories at St. John's were the many social events held on campus. Whether it was on the strip, on the great lawn, in Montgoris, in the dorms, in Marillac, Taffner, Carnesecca, there was never a dull moment.
Q: As an undergrad, what was your greatest accomplishment off the court?
A: As an undergrad, my greatest accomplishment off the volleyball court was graduating with the GPA score I had set for myself in my very first semester at St. John's.
Q: What does being a part of the St. John’s volleyball family mean to you?
A: I am part of this great extended family. As a result of this, I have formed lifelong friendships with sisters from all over the world. That is amazing.
Q: What did playing for St. John’s enable you to accomplish?
A: The volleyball program at St. John's molded me into a more all-rounded and open-minded player. I had three very different but experienced coaches here to train me. I was able to bind these different styles of playing into one style that suited me. As a result, I have been able to live my dream of playing volleyball at the professional level.
Q: How did you get from graduation to where you are now?
A: After I graduated, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place as I wanted to do two things at the same time. One was to further my studies and complete my Master's, while on the other hand, I wanted to pursue my dream to play volleyball professionally. After much hesitation, I decided to return home and play volleyball. Why not continue playing while my body is still in the best shape to do so. I knew that I would always be able to return to school after I am done playing. So, I resumed practices with my national team and earned a spot to compete in various tournaments that summer. Fortunately, while we were competing, I was offered a contract to play in the Division I league in Finland. I have continued on that path and I am currently playing my second season in Pro A in France.
Q: Who are some of the people in your life that you are most thankful for?
A: I am ever so grateful for my parents! They have guided and encouraged me with all the decisions I had to make. My mother continues to be my backbone and the beacon of my life. My older siblings have paved the path for me to follow and were my role models when I was growing up. They even acted as second parents when at times I thought it was unnecessary. As I think about them, I could not have asked for better siblings. Undoubtedly, I am greatly thankful for all my coaches, especially the ones who literally forced me to play volleyball when I was not the least bit interested. They were the ones who started this journey for me. I must mention my college coaches, coach Joanne Persico and [director of strength and conditioning] Rob Basile, who pushed me both mentally and physically for which I am now very grateful. I can safely say that after those four years, I can handle any coach I will encounter. I also want to thank my national team coach who framed the idea of playing professional volleyball when I was only 16, and without I would have never thought it possible. Also, I appreciate the work of my current agent who assisted me in making my debut as a professional athlete.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to a graduating volleyball player, what would it be?
A: I would tell her to follow her dreams. As cliché as it may sound, it's the best way to put into words what worked for me. I would remind her that she is the only one who has control over her future and therefore, she should chase after whatever her heart desires. Put God first. Take the initiative. Don't wait for anyone to make the first step for her!
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to an underclassman volleyball player, what would it be?
A: It's hard to give just one piece of advice. To be a student-athlete is easy. It does not take that much. However, I would advise her on how to be a successful student-athlete. It takes a lot of perseverance, hard work, determination, sweat, tears and humility. I would remind her that everything she does has a consequence, good or bad and that whatever she does today would be reflected tomorrow. I would stress on the importance of listening to her coaches, academic advisors, and captains. Take heed in what they say because they only want what's best for you. Focus on being the best student-athlete she can be! Give it your all whether it is on the court, in the classroom or in any extra-curricular activities. Even if things are not going smoothly on some days, remember to give your all at all times because hard work always pays off! A motto that I have lived by all through my college career and still today that helped me to push myself to be better than the day before is: "Good, better, best. Never let them rest! Until your good is better, and your better, best!" There's always room for improvement! Don’t give up! Keep in mind the people who are constantly rooting for you. Make them proud. But more importantly, make yourself proud!
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