JAMESTOWN, N.D. — The Jamestown Jimmies reached the mountain top last year, winning their first national championship in program history, and taking home the ultimate prize with a 37-2 overall record.

“We just had a special connection on our team and we just worked really hard together and to be able to experience that with my team, and the everyone who came to support us, it was really special,” senior Logan Sherman says.

“We were so involved with each other that it felt like doing it for each other, so that was super special,” senior Peyton Wilson adds. “Bringing it home here, we have a ton of support here very game, so winning that national championship felt like winning it for our city too.”

Over the last five seasons, Jamestown practices last about an hour, with intentional days off, aiding in the student-athlete life balance for the players.

“We focus a lot on really enjoying each other, enjoying every practice, every touch, every match. Not having volleyball be too much of our lives,” head coach Jon Hegerle says.

For the players, being a part of the program that supports their lives outside of volleyball has not only benefited the players individually, but as a team on the court.

“Our coaches do a really good job providing with time doing our homework and resting, and not running our bodies into the ground,” Wilson says. “I think part of that is how we come so hungry to each game and practice because we have rest and come back ready to play and excited to play.”

“It really helps knowing that your worth is more than how well you perform on the court or how good of a player your are, or whether or not you’re lifting so much weight,” senior Darienne Johnson adds. “I think it’s really nice to know that. You can have a lot more heart in it when you can play free like that.”

After an up and down start to the national title defense, this Jamestown squad has emphasized their mentality going into each match.

“I’m sick of being the prey,” Hegerle says. “Let’s be the predators. I’m sick of being hunted. Let’s be the hunters. There’s the old saying, a hungry wolf hunts best. The first part about that is we have to be passionate. We have to be hungry.”

“Everyone who plays against us, really gives us their best game and it’s really fun to just go in and focus on each game, one at a time,” Sherman adds. “Going in and being hungry to want to win, not necessarily the winning as much, but the want to win.”

The Jimmies next match is on Wednesday at Valley City State at 7 p.m. central time.