Senior skip year


Tamia Bowden skipped her senior year at Lafayette High School to play for the Griffs this season. (Marshall Haim/The Griffin)

By Adam Duke

Assistant Sports Editor

“Senior year’s a big deal,” said Canisius freshman Tamia Bowden, “but I decided to come here because I like it here better than Kentucky.”

The Lexington native graduated a year early from Lafayette High School so that she could come play for the Griffs. At the end of her junior year, she had the decision to come back for her final year or begin the recruiting process and attempt to join a collegiate program.

When Griffs head coach Lenika Vazquez heard that there was a potential that the team would be adding a player that had graduated early, she assumed that this player would be joining the team in the spring semester.

“[I] never experienced a player skip their entire senior year, but I have coached kids that have started the spring of their senior year,” said Vazquez. “So when I met her, I had spoken to her first, and she was very mature, very ready. Not everybody can go from junior year in high school to freshman year in college.”

Vazquez stressed Bowden’s maturity, saying that there are a lot of high schoolers that aren’t mature enough to make the jump. She referenced a conversation with Bowden’s mother in which they discussed whether Tamia was ready to move to the collegiate level academically. Her mother said that if she wasn’t ready, they wouldn’t be considering the option.

“She’s a smart young lady, she’s really bright,” said Vazquez. “So the college classes aren’t a big transition for her.”

Bowden said that she enjoys the challenge of college classes and that she likes the academics at Canisius.

This past January was when Bowden ultimately decided that she would forego her senior year. After looking at a few schools, she ultimately chose Canisius two weeks before graduation. She said that even though senior year is a big deal, it was a bigger deal for her to be a Golden Griffin.

“When you check Instagram and Twitter, you see all your friends doing this senior stuff,” said Bowden. “Sometimes I’m like, ‘That would be nice,’ but then I’m like, ‘Wait, I’m here.’”

Bowden said that the thing that has stuck with her most from being a part of the Griffs is the positive attitude of the team and the mentality that she has developed from that attitude.

“As a teammate, she is fired up. She’s a very ‘we’-minded person, as in she thinks of the team before herself,” said Vazquez. “Whether she’s in the game or on the bench, she is 100 percent giving everything she has.”  

Vazquez said that in the recruiting process, Bowden’s spirit was a huge factor. She enjoyed seeing Bowden’s energy and presence being felt no matter where she was. She also acknowledged Bowden’s ability to learn, deeming her one of the top three players she’s ever coached that can immediately apply what she learns to her play. Vazquez also said that it has been phenomenal to watch Bowden develop and that she enjoys having a player like Bowden in the gym.

This season, Bowden has tallied 16 kills, 15 blocks, six digs, and an assist in 11 matches and 32 sets. On Sept. 19, Bowden’s alma mater Lafayette tweeted in reply to Canisius Volleyball, stating that Bowden was “getting it done” in her three kill, four block performance in the second set against Coppin State on Sept. 1. In that set, she also scored the winning kill, helping the Griffs to rally back and defeat the Eagles in four sets.

Her favorite part of being a member of the team is the fact that the players get along so well.

“We’re all best friends, and that’s not even just saying that to say it,” she said. “We all hang out with each other all the time.”

Bowden said that she looks forward to being able to compete in the MAAC and hopes to win a conference championship in her years with the Griffs.



  1. I’m so proud of you Tamia! We love you and keep up the good work! – Mom

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