Athlete Spotlight: James Wood volleyball player Lainie Putt

5f20ca4eb8db6.imageJames Wood High School 17-year-old senior

Sport: Volleyball. Position: Opposite

Parents: Emily Budnyk-Putt and Jerry Putt

Hometown: Winchester

What do you love about volleyball: The fire and competitiveness. I also love the team aspect and the relationships that you can build with your teammates both on and off the court.

Most memorable moment in volleyball: In the 2019 season, when we beat Millbrook at Millbrook. (James Wood won 3-2 to snap an 11-match losing streak to the Pioneers dating back to 2014.) The atmosphere of the match was absolutely incredible. It was the first time James Wood beat Millbrook in a while, and it was a super competitive match.

Most embarrassing moment in volleyball: Definitely when I ran into a ref stand my sophomore year. I think it was at home against Williamsport. I remember the ball being blocked, and my mentality was to do everything I could to keep the ball alive. It's definitely something I still look back at and laugh at to this day.

Most difficult moment in volleyball: I would have to say mentally and physically how draining it was my junior year. I had to balance both my challenging course load at James Wood and travel to practice an hour away for club volleyball in Herndon with Paramount Volleyball Club. I had to make time for homework on our long trips. We went to places like Minnesota this year, and that whole time I had to keep up with my [college] recruiting process. I'm definitely super proud of myself for pushing through it.

Three people you can have dinner with, dead or alive: Victoria Garrick; she was a former libero at the University of Southern California. Her story and her whole recruiting process was super inspirational. She's an avid speaker for mental health and body image, especially for student-athletes. I would love to have a conversation with her about her experiences both on and off the court as a collegiate student-athlete. Matthew Gray Gubler; he's one of the actors from "Criminal Minds." I love his personality and how open he is. He manages to make everyone around him smile. I feel like he'd be really easy to get along with. And Martin Luther King Jr.; he said to love and not hate people, and I would love to learn how he handled his life with such peace and dignity. He was always looking to better the people around him.

Biggest athletic influence: Morgan Hentz. She was the former Stanford libero. She's probably one of the greatest liberos of all time. Her area on the court is called "Hentz-Ville" because she never let like a ball drop in her area. She's always had an amazing mentality of never letting the ball drop. She always gives 100 percent every play.

Who’s your favorite teacher: Ms. [Emily] Barnes from James Wood. She was my interior design teacher my sophomore year. You can tell that she really cares about her students, both past and present. I was going to be a teacher aide for her this fall, but I'm not sure what that looks like with everything that's going on right now with the coronavirus.

Favorite athlete: Morgan Hentz

Favorite sports team: Stanford women's volleyball team

Favorite movie: “The Hunger Games"

Favorite TV show: “The Office"

Favorite song: “Our Song” by Taylor Swift

Favorite food: Tacos

Worst thing you’ve eaten: Cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving

Plans after high school: I'm going to attend St. Francis College on scholarship to play Division I volleyball. I'm super excited to live in Brooklyn and explore New York City. I'm planning to go on their five-year psychology track and get my master's degree in psychology. I've also been thinking about their sociology and criminal justice program, too. I just love learning about how people think and how people interact with each other.

— Compiled by Robert Niedzwieck

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