Not only is she one of the most decorated athletes in EWU history, but Janelle Allen (formerly Ruen) is arguably the best female athlete to ever come out of the Inland Northwest.
A native of Post Falls, Idaho, Allen enters her second season as an assistant volleyball coach at her alma mater in 2014.
Her renowned career started at Post Falls High School, where she was a league MVP in both volleyball and basketball. She earned first-team All-State honors for both sports, and at the time of her graduation, held the Trojan school record for points in basketball and kills in volleyball.
Initially earning a scholarship for basketball, Allen played, and excelled, in both sports at Eastern Washington. She was honored in 2001 and 2002 as the Inland Northwest Female Athlete of the Year by the Spokane Sportswriters and Broadcasters.
Allen completed her final year in volleyball as the 2002 Big Sky Conference MVP after leading Eastern to a 29-2 record and the Big Sky Conference regular-season title. Those 29 wins still remain as the best single-season record of any Big Sky team throughout history.
When she departed EWU, Allen ranked 12th in Big Sky history and third at EWU in career digs with 1,298, while her 1,268 kills ranked second all-time in school history. More than a decade later, she still ranks in the top 10 in both categories at EWU.
Allen is the only Eagle volleyball player to record more than 1,100 kills and 1,100 digs in her career.
A 2002 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Pacific Region honorable mention selection, Allen played in every Eagle volleyball match since her freshman season, appearing in a total of 417 sets. Eastern won 93 of those 120 matches for an impressive winning percentage of .778.
Her 419 kills in 2002 ranked fifth in the EWU single-season record book, as did her 415 digs. She also ranked high in other EWU career categories as well, including kills per game (3.04/fifth), digs per game (3.88/fifth), hitting percentage (.253/sixth), hitting attempts (3,212/third) and service aces (140/second).
In addition to her conference MVP honor, Allen was a first team All-Big Sky and All-Big Sky Tournament selection for two-consecutive years. She won four Big Sky Conference Player of the Week honors in 2002 and seven in her career, and won a total of seven all-tournament honors during her tenure.
She became the first female athlete at EWU to receive All-Big Sky honors in two sports in the same year when she was an honorable mention selection in basketball in the 2000-2001 season, after earning second team All-Big Sky honors in volleyball in the fall.
In 56 career games in basketball, Allen averaged 7.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.8 steals, while making 49.3 percent of her field goal attempts and 70.6 percent of her free throws. In the 2002-03 season, Allen helped Eastern to a 17-12 record, which at the time, represented Eastern's most wins since 1988 and a six-game improvement over the previous season.
She earned Academic All-District VIII honors as a senior in volleyball when she was also selected as a 2002 Sports Illustrated "Face in the Crowd." Allen earned seven Big Sky Conference All-Academic honors, including four in volleyball and three in basketball.
After graduating from Eastern in 2003, Allen went on to play professional beach volleyball, including five seasons on the former AVP Beach Volleyball Tour. She competed in more than 50 national tournaments, placing as high as ninth two times. She also competed internationally at FIVB challenger/satellite events in Hong Kong and Poland, placing seventh and second, which marked her best finish as a pro.
In her rookie season in 2006, Allen and partner Jennifer Snyder, ranked 42nd on the tour and then improved to 40th the next year. Allen was nominated for the Rookie of the Year Award in 2006.
On Aug. 17, 2006, Ruen was chosen to ring the opening bell at the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York City and in 2008, she appeared in the motion picture “Impact Point” distributed by Sony Pictures.
In 2008, Allen joined Benson’s staff at Auburn as director of volleyball operations. She spent one season with the Tigers before returning to California, where she lives with her husband, Billy Allen - also a professional beach volleyball player.
Allen has been a head coach for the Sports Shack Volleyball Club for the last four years, and has served as Programs Coordinator for the United States Youth Volleyball League. She manages more than 30 youth volleyball programs throughout the U.S., helping recruit, train and supervise all coaches and staff.
She also coaches volleyball at Wildwood School in Los Angeles, Calif., and basketball at Vistamar School.