Sports Person of the Week
Pullin Ready to Lead the Warriors on the Court
Jamie Pullin is eager to help lead the Valley Regional volleyball squad in the 2020 season. Jamie also does indoor track and rows crew for the Warriors. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Pullin )
Jamie Pullin has already built an impressive athletic career at Valley Regional High School as the senior enters her final year as a Warrior. Jamie plays the hitter position for the Valley volleyball team, throws shot put for the girls’ indoor track squad, and also rows with the crew. Last year, Jamie and her volleyball teammates claimed the Shoreline Conference crown with an upset victory over No. 1 seed Hale-Ray in the tournament final. Jamie hopes to defend that title in 2020.
By participating in sports all year long, Jamie has seen a lot. The moment that stands out the most for Jamie was when Valley won the Shoreline volleyball championship. The Warriors fell behind after the first set, but eventually came out on top after five sets, winning 3-2.
“Shorelines was definitely a big moment in my high school volleyball career. I think that after the first set, which we lost pretty considerably, we went into the corner and thought, ‘We have to pick it up.’ As a team, we made the decision that we would make it work,” Jamie says. “We were down some players, but that allowed some other players to fill in. Key players came out and did what they had to do for us to come out ahead and win that game.”
Jamie will be one of four seniors on this year’s Valley volleyball squad, and she anticipates taking on a bigger role as one of the team’s leaders. It will be a challenging adjustment after the retirement of former coach Kathy Scott, but Jamie plans to use what she learned from Scott to help her younger teammates.
“I think especially for volleyball, team dynamic and chemistry is really important. I want to focus on the dynamic between the players. I think if you can work together off the court, it’s easier to come together during the game,” says Jamie. “Coach Scott was a great coach. She was great at teaching the technical parts of the game, but she also taught us how to be mentally prepared. The seniors were lucky to have her for three years. Hopefully, we’ll be able to pick up where she left off with helping the younger players.”
While Jamie can play a variety of spots on the court, she primarily lines up at one of the hitter positions for Valley. Jamie has worked on improving her jumping ability in order to rack up more kills. She tallied 134 kills as a junior last season.
“I’ve mostly played a middle hitter and an outside hitter. I usually play outside hitter, which is more of an all-around position. I can play in the front row as a shorter hitter, because I can hit decently and get the ball over,” Jamie says. “I’ve been working on my vertical, so that I can jump higher with a lot of all-around conditioning. Hill sprints are good for improving vertical. I’m also a lifeguard, so I swim a lot. Other than that, I just work my leg muscles. It all helps.”
In addition to taking the court for the Warriors, Jamie also plays travel volleyball during the winter and spring. Jamie qualified to play on a High Performance team, an accomplishment that makes her feel proud. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic brought Jamie’s High Performance season to an abrupt end this spring, but she’s hoping that everything will go smoothly during the 2020-’21 season.
“Making High Performance offseason volleyball is something that I’m really proud of. There’s a Regional, High Performance, and National level. High Performance is a step above what I had done in the past at the Regional level,” says Jamie, who lives in Chester. “We had to cut our season short in mid-March. We went to the Mizuno Tournament in Boston, which is biggest tournament of the year, on March 7. That was a big deal. There are a lot of scouts that go to it, but after that, we didn’t even have a single practice.”
Jamie started playing volleyball in the 7th grade and considers it her main sport. Jamie also enjoys participating in crew and indoor track and says they are both great ways to keep in shape when she isn’t playing volleyball.
“Crew is one of those sports where you go as hard as you can for as long as you can. It’s a different type of sport for me to push myself that hard. That’s a good sport for me to learn to really push in volleyball, even when I’m feeling kind of tired,” Jamie says. “As for indoor track, I joined my freshman year because I needed a winter sport. I started out as a runner, and I did long jump. At one meet I saw the throwers, and I wanted to do that. I wanted to focus more on the strength training aspect.”
Athletic Director Jeff Swan has sat in on numerous volleyball practices over the course of his time at Valley, even helping coach the team at one point. Swan says that Jamie’s work on the court is something special and believes that she’s an excellent example of an all-around student-athlete.
“Jamie’s a very hardworking athlete. She takes the necessary time. I’ve seen her in practice, and she’s always learning and practicing,” says Swan. “Jamie’s a well-rounded athlete. She’s got a lot going on. We’re expecting good things from her this year if we go forward. I’m really looking forward to watching her. I also think she’s an upcoming leader.”
After her high school career, Jamie plans to continue playing volleyball at the collegiate level. However, with so much up in the air these days, she’s still weighing her options. Jamie is looking to tailor her major toward something to do with biomedical engineering and ethical law. Regardless of what happens in college, Jamie hopes that she will get to play her final season with her fellow seniors at Valley this fall.
“I have a couple of options and coaches in mind for college, but because the offseason was cut short, I want to keep my options open to see where I best fit as a player,” Jamie says. “I just hope to hammer that out this season if we have one. I’m optimistic about having a season this year. I’m really hoping that I get to play and spend this last year with these seniors. We’ll see what happens.”