Senior juggles 3 sports

The Baltimore Sun

Reservoir senior Jamie Huffman is a three-sport athlete deluxe. Not only does she excel in volleyball, basketball and softball -- earning seven varsity letters and counting -- she also has proved to be versatile and a team player.

In basketball, she has played guard and forward. In softball, first base has been her position since she started playing in the first grade, but she also has handled second and third for the Gators. And in volleyball, a sport she didn't pick up until her freshman year, she returns as a hitter this season after being asked to set for the team last year.

Last year, as a first-time setter, she earned first-team All-County honors, finishing with 503 assists as the Gators won their first county championship and made their first trip to the Class 2A state championship game.

Huffman, who maintains a 3.6 grade point average, plans to play volleyball in college and possibly softball. She is deciding among Gettysburg, Shippensburg, Elon and Delaware.

How did you get started with volleyball?

I started in my freshman year just three days before tryouts. I was with a friend one day, and her dad was bringing her to the school to sign up, and he didn't want to leave me by myself. So he brought me up and said, "Why don't you sign up, too?" So I signed up, did the booster camp and decided to try out. I love sports in general, so being competitive, the game came to me, and from there I really learned to love it.

Did you have any idea the team would be that successful last season?

I had no idea. I knew we had a lot of talent, but no idea we would be able to put it all together the way we did. I think communication really was the key. We learned to communicate well, and everything just clicked.

How can the team build on last year's experience?

Just learn from our mistakes. We had a couple close calls last year because we underestimated some teams, so we now know not to underestimate anyone and to put everything we have into every match.

How excited are you going back to being a hitter?

I love hitting and all the intensity that comes with it. I couldn't be happier.

What did you learn from your season as the team's setter?

I learned how important passing really is just from being part of every play and realizing a good pass really does make a play.

How demanding is it being a three-sport athlete?

It's demanding as far as juggling all the sports and then playing on travel and club teams and school. But I'm pretty much used to it because I've played basketball and softball since I was in first grade.

What else do you enjoy doing?

I like to spend a lot of time with my friends. I have six best friends, and four of them happen to be on the team, so that makes volleyball that much more enjoyable.

What was the highlight from the volleyball season last year?

I'd probably say our Senior Night game against Centennial. Not just winning the match, but having so many fans there. It was just an exhilarating match and to know we had that much support from our school and community was awesome.

The team won its first county championship and reached the state title game. What's it going to take to have the same kind of success?

A lot of hard work. We're going to have to take it match to match and not get too ahead of ourselves. I know there's a lot of talk about playoffs this year and states again this year, but we really have to take it one match at a time.

How good is the volleyball in the county?

The county is so tough. We played a couple out-of-county teams, and it just helps you appreciate the competition in the county. Every team brings competition. There's no team where you can say, "Oh we're playing so-and-so today -- no big deal." Every match you have to go in playing 100 percent.

Do you ever get tired playing so many sports?

There are times when you get frustrated, but the fact that I love sports makes it so much easier. So I'm thinking: "Uh, another three-hour practice." But then during that practice I'm just having so much fun.

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