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Volleyball standout J.P. Reilly will head to Stanford, but he’s diving deep in his last season at Loyola

Eric Sondheimer
Contact ReporterVarsity Times Insider

One and done has a new meaning in the Reilly household in Manhattan Beach.

It’s about taking the ACT once and never having to do it again.

J.P. Reilly, the 6-foot-4 senior volleyball player at Los Angeles Loyola with a 38-inch vertical leap, took the ACT before his junior year and scored 34 out of a possible 36.

“One and done,” he said.

Add his 4.5 grade-point average and you begin to understand why he’ll be attending Stanford in the fall.

Let’s just say the family has high expectations. for the siblings in the classroom and on the volleyball court. Oldest brother Matt attends MIT. Sister Kate is a freshman at Manhattan Beach Mira Costa High and is supposedly even more competitive in volleyball and academics than her older brothers.

“My mom and dad both stressed from an early age that whatever you do, just do it to the best of your ability and have a good time with it,” J.P. Reilly said.

“Ever since I was young, all I can remember is I want to do the best I can on this math test or the best I can on this paper. I want to do the best I can in this volleyball game, this Little League game. They really stressed values of determination, pushing yourself to be the best version of yourself.”

Reilly has certainly lived up to family values. He entered Loyola as a 5-10, 130-pound freshman.

“I was a noodle,” he said.

His growth spurt, combined with his leaping skills, helped him lead Loyola to a Southern Section Division 1 volleyball championship last season. The Cubs are ranked No. 2 in Division 1 this season behind Oak Park.

“He’s so athletically talented that it makes everyone around him that much better,” Coach Michael Boehle said.

The Cubs are one of the favorites this season, and if the opening week of action was any indication, Reilly is not resting on his laurels.

In an opening match against Santa Barbara, Reilly dove for a ball and smacked his chin on the ground, opening a cut that required 16 stitches.

“If I have to do it, I’ll put my face on the line,” he said with a smile.

Reilly is a dreamer. At Stanford, he’ll study to become an entrepreneur but he also loves astronomy.

“I don’t know if you’ve heard of Elon Musk, who is planning on sending two private citizens to the moon? I think the future might be expanding out, and out further than you think. Maybe even off the planet,” he said.

Reilly is planning to participate in the space race.

Reilly appears to have been influenced by participating in a senior project every Loyola student must complete before graduation. He chose to be a tutor/teacher/mentor with elementary school students at Ascension School.

“They really wanted us to connect and hang out with the kids,” he said. “Most of the kids I was talking to not only did they not think college was a possibility but were also doubting finishing high school just because of what position their family is in.

“They need to work, they need to start supporting their families. I realized I was lucky. The second thing I realized is I was there only three weeks but had an impact on those kids’ lives. A little time can make a big difference.”

Aside from winning another section title, the other main sports goal for Reilly was winning the annual showdown against rival Mira Costa last month.

“I can’t think of a bigger, more iconic event for the South Bay,” he said.

And what happens on Saturday morning depending on the result?

“It’s either a lot of big smiles and you walk around downtown Manhattan Beach repping your Loyola gear or turning a blind eye watching the Mira Costa people waving their flags around wearing green and gold,” he said.

Reilly was “repping” big time.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

Twitter: latsondheimer

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