For Ballon-Landa, a senior at The Bishop’s School, there is rarely a quiet moment, but she has managed to make the best of it, and says she actually thrives amid the chaos that is her non-stop life.
“I’ve kind of figured out how I work, so I know how to manage my time,” Ballon-Landa said with a laugh. “I know what I have to do, and I get it done by the time it’s due. I still try to have fun and spend time with my friends, too. I’ve always had a lot of things on my plate, but I’ve learned that if you use your time well, you’re going to be able to do the things you want to do and make it work.
During the fall, among Ballon-Landa’s many focuses, one of the most prominent is volleyball. After all, the Knights could be one of the best teams in the state of California this year, and some even consider the team stronger than the one that went 24-11 last season and advanced into the second round of the California Interscholastic Federation State tournament.
Ballon-Landa is an opposite-side hitter for the Knights, and is one of their most effective players both offensively and defensively.
Throughout her first three years in high school, Ballon-Landa, who stands 6 feet tall, played mostly middle blocker. But because the Knights had a glut of middle blockers this season, Coach Tod Mattox was able to move the senior to the right side, and it has made the team that much more effective.
“She hits the slide set very well, so we’re setting her a lot of balls behind the setter on the right side,” Mattox said. Ballon-Landa said the change in position hasn’t fazed her. The Knights have started the season with a 4-0 record, and Ballon-Landa has led the team in kills.
Mattox said he has been most impressed with Ballon-Landa’s seamless transition into a leadership role. A captain on this year’s team, she hadn’t been required to serve in that capacity during any of her three previous seasons.
“She’s had to make some changes in her whole demeanor,” Mattox said. “I think she’s really embraced it, and the team has responded well to her. She has taken it as a challenge and has done a nice job.”
Ballon-Landa said she would like to attend an Ivy League university or another small liberal-arts college on the east coast after graduating from Bishop’s. She certainly has produced the resume to do so.
She won the President’s Award, the highest academic honor bestowed on a junior, at Bishop’s last year. The Bishop’s Singers, of which she is a member, is the premier performance group at the school. And she finds time to participate in the drama club and play lacrosse during the spring season, while she is playing club volleyball for the San Diego Volleyball Club.
“She really does it all,” said Mattox, in awe of the accomplishments of his star athlete. “She definitely has an Ivy League profile. She’s juggling big-time all the time. But that’s her comfort zone now. She’s used to doing it, so that’s just what she does. And I encourage it.”