Record setting year for Farmer
No one knows exactly how or why it happens, but there are those moments when Mildred’s Olivia Farmer simply takes over — moments when she slips into her own zone, skying high above the volleyball net or creating magic on the basketball court or slamming the biggest hit of the night in a softball game.
She simply rises above.
Call it the Olivia zone — the O-Zone.
That’s where Farmer lives, jumping from sport to sport and taking over time and time again, and after completing one of the most remarkable years in any high school sports career, Farmer is rising once again — this time as the winner of the Daily Sun’s 2012-2013 Community National Bank and Trust All-Golden Circle Female Athlete of the Year award.
Farmer was the co-winner of this award a year ago, but claims it on her own as a senior after an unforgettable season in the sun.
Farmer was the Daily Sun’s Golden Circle Player of the Year in volleyball, the Golden Circle co-offensive Player of the Year in basketball and the Golden Circle Player of the Year in softball — an almost impossible trifecta.
She helped turn the volleyball program around at Mildred, ignited the basketball program and was a big part of Mildred’s playoff run in softball.
The only thing more mind-boggling than her dominance in each sport is her versatility. Imagine, she gave up track this year, where she was a star in her own right, competing in the triple jump and the mile relay. She cleared 10 feet in the pole vault as a sophomore. Somehow, she found time to also be a cheerleader at Mildred this year.
You get the feeling if a one-act play of Romeo and Juliet broke out at second base that she could drop her glove and bat, and play both roles. She’s that versatile.
And that talented.
“She is one of the best females to ever come through here. One of the best I’ve ever seen,’’ Mildred football and softball coach Billy Dan Chambliess said.
There’s no argument. Farmer is one of a kind.
“I just hate to sit still,’’ said Farmer, who fell in love with sports when she was 4 years old playing T-ball as the only girl on the all-boys team. “I just can’t sit still for very long. I have to do something.’’
And she does everything amazingly well. She even rises in the classroom and after playing sports in every season, Farmer graduated with a 3.86 GPA.
Her toughest moments? When seasons overlap.
“She can go from sport to sport and not miss a beat,’’ Chambliess said.
But she never likes the transition.
“It’s hard. I love all the sports,’’ Farmer said. “I will still be playing volleyball when basketball starts. I get mad when a sport starts without me. All my friends would be asking me, ‘When are you going to get out here?’ And I hate it when (the sport I’m playing ends in the playoffs). I just hate to lose.’’
Her coaches say that’s what drives Farmer, her passion for winning.
She didn’t even play volleyball until she was a sophomore, but grew to love it.
“She came a whole long way for someone who didn’t want to play,’’ Mildred volleyball coach Joanna Vaden said. “I had a lot of help getting her to play. The other kids on the team kept telling me you have to get Olivia to play.’’
Finally, one of the volleyball players approached Farmer, and she decided to add volleyball to her resume.
“She showed up to that first practice in August, and there has been no stopping her since then,’’ Vaden said. “Her first year we made the playoffs for the first time in history. She’s just a great all-around player and her hitting was amazing. She ended up with more than 600 kills in her career, a school record.’’
Farmer set the single-season school record for kills as a senior with 383, 7and was a big reason Mildred’s volleyball team turned the corner.
“The first volleyball camp I went to was so hard,’’ Farmer said. “The workouts were really hard. I hurt so bad. But I love it. I love volleyball.’’
Vaden saw first-hand just what life in the O-Zone is like.
“The more competitive it gets, the more she wants to play,’’ Vaden said. “She hates to lose.’’
Farmer is like that in every sport. She has been playing some form of baseball since she was 4 and started playing in Little Dribblers basketball when she was 5.
“She played on the same Little Dribblers team with (Mildred quarterback Nic Shimonek, who is going to Iowa on a football scholarship) and when we first played the scores were so one sided that the second year they didn’t keep score,’’ Olivia’s father, Shane Farmer, said. “But Olivia always wanted to know the score and we would tell the kids.’’
They keep score in high school, and Farmer had some highlight moments.
“I’ll never forget her 32 points against Hubbard,’’ said Mildred girls basketball coach Dale Clement. “She couldn’t miss and I was just saying, ‘Give her he ball.’ She had a three-game run where she scored 27, 29 and 32.’’
Just call it the O-Zone.
“She’s just an amazing player,’’ Clement said. “Defensively, she averaged five steals a game and there’s very few who can get the ball around her.’’
But what really leaves Clement speechless is the way Farmer sees the game before it happens.
“She has amazing court vision,’’ he said. “She will see things develop ahead of time, and I will be standing on the sidelines and I can’t see it, but she does. It’s amazing.’’
Farmer was a leader on every team she played on from being the go-to-girl in volleyball that everyone believed in to leading her softball team as a third baseman and outfielder and pitcher and hitting .621 with six homers and 52 RBIs while stealing 35 bases.
“She has a leadership quality to her,’’ Clement said. “She has such great court presence. Her being on the court helps put everyone on the same page.’’
Farmer averaged 15.4 points a game and made 53 3-pointers, shooting 32 percent from beyond the arc, but her first love is still softball, and that’s what she will play at Navarro College, where she earned a scholarship. It wasn’t a tough sell. Farmer has wanted to play softball at Navarro since she attended her first camp there as a youngster.
“She will be one of the ones at Navarro,’’ said Chambliess, who has no doubt Farmer will have a great career on the diamond at the next level. “She did everything for us. I hate to see her go.’’
Clement said, “I wish I had her for four more years,” and Vaden feels the same way.
Farmer still has a hard time talking about Mildred’s loss in the playoffs that ended the season and her career, but she walked off the diamond with no regrets.
“I left it all out there,’’ she said.
She always did — right out there in the O-Zone.