Armstrong's Indigo Thompson, the school's career set assist leader, jumpsets in a recent match
Being an athlete just comes naturally to Indigo Thompson.
For starters, the senior setter for Armstrong is the daughter of former Gophers running back Darrell Thompson and University of Iowa volleyball player Stephanie Smith.
“It’s in my blood,” said Thompson, who is the career set assist leader at Armstrong and has verbally accepted a scholarship offer to play at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.
It’s not just her. She has an aunt and an uncle on her father’s side who also played college volleyball. Older sister Dominique is a middle blocker at Wisconsin. Younger brothers True and Race are three-sport athletes.
“Everything we do is competitive,” Indigo said. “Whether it’s who gets their homework done faster or who does their chores faster, we’re always competing.”
Staff writer Jim Paulsen spoke with Thompson about her energetic lifestyle and her volleyball past, present and future.
Q: Volleyball is a sport for tall athletes, yet you’re only 5-foot-6. How much does your background help?
A: Being shorter means I’ve had to work harder. But at the same time, I’ve been blessed with good genetics. I’ve got good hops, I’m pretty quick and I can run.
Q: Why VCU?
A: Since I was little, I always said I wanted to go to college further away where it’s a little warmer. I went to VCU and I fell in love with the campus, the girls on the team, everything. It felt perfect.
Q: With your family’s Big Ten background, did you feel any pressure to stay closer to home?
A: I never felt any pressure on where to go. My parents have always been really supportive. I know they want me to go out and try new things. And I think they’re excited to come visit me in a warmer place.
Q: What makes you a good setter?
A: My ability to react quickly is one of my best traits. I have a really good connection with my team. I know how to read weaknesses and play into strengths.
Q: Are you a volleyball fan?
A: I’m volleyball fan but I’m a bigger fan of my sister. The whole family cheers for Wisconsin. My dad might be a fan of Gophers football but he’s a Wisconsin volleyball fan.
Q: Do you think you’ll get the chance to play against your sister someday?
A: The crazy part is, VCU and Wisconsin played each other in a tournament this year! I don’t know if they plan on playing in the same tournament again next year, but if we did, it would be so fun.
Q: What do you love about volleyball?
A: I love the team aspect, but I also like the fact that it’s a high-energy sport. And I’m a high-energy person.
Q: You also play for Mizuno M1, one of the elite volleyball clubs in Minnesota. How difficult is it going from club to high school volleyball?
A: Club is a more competitive atmosphere whereas with high school, you’re playing with girls who are your close friends who live near you. It’s a different feeling.
Q: Who’s the best athlete in the family?
A: [Laughs] I’m sure we could all give each other a run for money in something.
Q: What do you do to get away from volleyball for a while?
A: I’ll hang out with friends. I’m so busy with volleyball and school that it’s hard to stay caught up. And go to my brothers’ sporting events. Can’t get enough of the gym.