Gillian Tinnin and Don Ogden went on an excursion inside the Tahlequah Multipurpose Activity Center. They ventured up to the walkway around the seating bowl in the spacious gymnasium at Tahlequah High School.
Ogden stopped Tinnin right in front of the All-State volleyball banner. The Tahlequah volleyball coach pointed up and told Tinnin to get a good look, because her name would soon be on the list.
“He told me that my name would be up there,” said Tinnin, a 5-foot-8 outside hitter for Tahlequah. “The only thing I could say was ‘thank you.’”
Ogden revealed to Tinnin that she’d be the second Tahlequah player ever to join the list after the Oklahoma Coaches Association announced All-State volleyball teams. Tinnin was named to the Small East team, along with Sequoyah’s Audrey Ballou and other players from Class 4A and 5A schools.
Tinnin’s name will now be remembered alongside Sarah Nelson, who was Tahlequah’s first All-State selection in 2009.
“It’s so exciting to know I made All-State,” Tinnin told the Tahlequah Daily Press. “And I feel so blessed to have gotten it.”
Tinnin capped off her senior year with 440 kills for Tahlequah. She also helped guide the Lady Tigers to their first state-tournament appearance since 2009.
Tahlequah nearly upset 5A No. 2 Lincoln Christian in the first round of the state tournament, but ultimately lost 3-2 (25-21, 27-29, 26-28, 25-20, 15-6). Tinnin, though, in just one game in the state tournament made the all-tournament team, thanks to her 20-kill performance against Lincoln Christian, which finished as the state runner-up.
“If we have team success, we’ll get individual honors out of that,” said Ogden, who has coach Tahlequah volleyball since the program’s inception.
“Gill was rewarded for all the leadership qualities she took on.”
Before the 2013 season started, Tinnin had a couple of goals in mind. Being an All-State selection and making the state tournament were on her short list of aspirations.
“At the beginning of the year I just wanted to work hard enough so being an All-Stater would be possible,” Tinnin said.
Ogden said that Tinnin fought off nagging injuries all season long to become one of the state’s best seniors.
“Volleyball takes a toll on you,” he said. “Your joints start ailing a little bit. You just have to fight through aches and pains.
“She didn’t miss any time because she knew this was her senior year and last go-round.”
When Tinnin’s name appeared on the All-State team, she joined her brother, Travis, as another All-Stater in the family. Now she won’t have to listen to all his gloating, she said.
“It means so much being an All-Stater with my brother, because God has blessed us with ability to play for his glory,” Gillian Tinnin said. “And Travis doesn’t have anything to hold over my head.”
As for Tinnin’s volleyball career after high school, it’ll have to be on a club team in college, she said.
“I don’t plan on actually going to school for volleyball,” Tinnin said. “I plan on going to Oklahoma State, but I was told that OSU has a club volleyball team. I knew after I heard this that Oklahoma State is exactly where I’m suppose to be.”