It’s 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Volleyball player Christian Luhnow ’16 walks into a crowded gym as glaring gym lights force her sleepy eyes to open. She is awake and ready for the long day ahead.
While other teenagers may spend their Saturday mornings sleeping in, Luhnow’s schedule is composed of early morning club practices and volleyball tournaments.
Luhnow, now a junior at Archer, joined the Archer Varsity Volleyball team when she was a sophomore. She has been playing volleyball for seven years, starting club volleyball in the fifth grade.
In an interview with the Oracle, Luhnow shared her life as a student-athlete.
When playing volleyball, communication is essential for the success of a team, Luhnow said. She gives encouraging words to pump up her peers on and off the court.
According to Luhnow, positivity and joy adds to the character of any team, necessary to work together as a unit.
“I promote motivation, a positive attitude and effort. As captain, I want to be someone to look up to and not someone that barks orders. On and off the court, I treat my teammates as equals and not as a superior just because of my title,” she said.
“It’s been great coaching Christian because she is one of the sweetest… most joyful people I’ve ever met,” Archer Varsity Volleyball coach Jonathan Lotz said. “She always has a smile on her face, and when I say always, I mean always. She handles everything in stride and sets an example to the other girls with her positive attitude and play.”
“My teammates are my role models because of their supportive nature… my teammates inspire me to play better,” Luhnow said.
According to Luhnow, the most memorable game she has played in her volleyball career was two summers ago. She and her team played at the AAU Girls Junior National Volleyball Championships in Orlando, Florida.
“It was a battle. We were playing the number one team in our pool and we lost the match in the third game,” Luhnow said. “Unfortunately, that was the end of our season, but none of us were that sad because all knew we played the hardest we could.”
“In that moment, I realized I wanted to play in college and pursue my love for volleyball,” she said.
Student-Athlete Adviser Kim Smith is currently working with Luhnow to find the right college and volleyball program for her.
“Ms. Smith, Archer and all of my coaches are giving me a ton of support to help me realize my dream,” Luhnow said.
With the rigorous workload and stress that comes with junior year, Luhnow has learned to manage her time effectively between volleyball and school.
“I do my homework on the bus, car rides, or before games,” Luhnow said. “My best friend is the Quizlet app on the iPhone.”
Other than volleyball, Luhnow currently plays beach volleyball and tennis. Because club volleyball is time consuming, she has dropped a lot of other sports, including basketball, soccer, softball and track and field.
“Christian is a dynamic player, one who can put away the good sets and make winners out of average sets,” Athletics Director Denny Lennon wrote in an email. “Her ball control and defense also set the pace for our team. She is as good of a leader as she is as a player.”
“There were times when she took over a match by herself, and it’s that kind of ability that makes me confident she has a future at the next level. Any college team will be lucky to have her,” Lotz said.
Luhnow is hopeful for a successful volleyball season for Archer’s Varsity team in the 2015-2016 school year.
“I expect that in the 2015-2016 Archer volleyball season we will accomplish great things,” she said. “I know this because of the hard work, commitment and dedication all the players bring to the game. Go Panthers!”