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Steve Griffin, Deseret News
Lone Peak volleyball player Tasia Farmer plays at Lone Peak High School in Highland on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. She is the Deseret News' Ms. Volleyball for this school year.

HIGHLAND — No one has to lecture Tasia Farmer on the benefits of team chemistry.

Long before she was leading the Knights to a third straight 6A volleyball title, the senior outside hitter was dubbed the “third” parent by her family because she spends so much time and energy caring for her younger siblings.

“Tasia is so loud and funny and the life of the party,” said her mom, Pauline Mili, of Farmer, who is the third oldest of 10 children. “She is amazing. … She’s the third parent in our house. We trust her more than anyone else, including aunts, uncles or grandparents. She loves, loves, loves these babies and has a bond with them. She learns their personalities, and it’s one of her best qualities, how great of a big sister she is.”

That nurturing nature extended to her teammates, helping them find their place amidst high expectations in the high-octane offense.

" She has so much persistence and drive, in anything she wants to do, she will figure it out. Volleyball has really attributed to that. "
Pauline Mili

“She is one of those people who will take younger athletes under her wing, inspire them, teach them, do whatever it takes to help other athletes succeed,” said Lone Peak head coach Reed Carlson. “She is very influential with who she is, but she gives back to so many other athletes. She is a very kind individual, as far as what others need.”

If her compassion and sensitivity helped her create a productive team chemistry, her drive and determination helped her transform from a girl with natural athletic ability to one of the state’s most skilled volleyball players. The combination earned her the title of 2018 Ms. Volleyball.

“At the end of her sophomore year, she decided to be relentless with her goals,” Carlson said, noting that Farmer watched the success of Madi Robinson and learned that if she wanted to be the player she envisioned, she’d have to commit more than four months a year to the sport. “She saw how much time players like that were dedicating to the sport, and she decided that’s what she wanted to do. As soon as she started dedicating more time in the gym, it was unbelievable how much faster she improved.”

Her mother agreed.

Steve Griffin
Lone Peak's Tasia Farmer, right, rips a shot into Northridge's Brighton Williams during the high school volleyball 6A state tournament at UVUU in Orem on Thursday, Nov. 1, 201

“She’s always been pretty athletic,” Mili said. “They took her natural athleticism and working with her, they brought out something in her. It was amazing how quickly (Matt and Reed Carlson) got so much out of her.”

Her improvement didn’t just help her on the stat sheet.

“It just made her a little bit more empowered,” Mili said. “It made her feel like she could do hard things. There were little techniques that she was doing completely wrong, so they corrected that, but it really just helped her have more of a strong mind and a strong will to do things that are hard.” Farmer finished with 510 kills, earning a .362 hitting percentage in 94 sets. She was equally tough defensively with 307 digs and 42 blocks.

Her physical skills are jaw-dropping, with a vertical that allows her to reach well over 10 feet, Carlson said.

“She’s gotten a lot stronger, and she’s able to jump higher, and she’s got such a fast arm swing, it is hard for a defense to read what she’s doing.”

Farmer is just as committed in the classroom, earning a 4.0 GPA and accepting a scholarship to UC Santa Barbara.

“She’s always had a passion and a drive for it,” Mili said. “I just let her take off. It was never something we pushed.” In fact, part of Farmer’s gratitude to her family came from the fact that her parents had to load up her younger siblings every day to drive her to North Salt Lake for club practices.

Steve Griffin
Lone Peak's Tasia Farmer, center, smiles as she celebrates a point with her teammates during match against Northridge during the high school volleyball 6A state tournament at UVUU in Orem on Thursday, Nov. 1, 201

“She is so determined and self-motivated,” Mili said. “She always has been. We have so many younger kids, we don’t have time to (nag) her to do things. She’s amazing.

Her mother said her passion for volleyball may have led to her commitment to the sport, but it’s her dedication to volleyball that has taught her the value of doing her best in all aspects of her life.

“She has so much persistence and drive, in anything she wants to do, she will figure it out,” Mili said. “Volleyball has really attributed to that.”

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Carlson said that while coaches regularly discuss how to set and achieve goals, she made herself a model student.

“When she puts her mind to something, she’s going to go 100 percent,” he said, adding that among those lessons was the value of helping others achieve their goals. “If you help enough other people get what they want, you will get what you want. She is leaving behind a legacy that you can be proud of. She has taken to heart these life lessons, and instead of just listening to them, she’s started living those lessons.”