Jenny Leitman aces her way to Nationals


Freshman Jenny Leitman serves the ball in her pre-League game.

Despite only joining volleyball this year, freshman Jenny Leitman earned a placement with Saddleback High to play in the National Junior Olympics for girls volleyball starting July 24.

“It wasn’t surprising to me because I knew [my team was] capable of getting it,” Leitman said. “I’m really excited for it.”

National Junior Olympics is the largest national sporting event in the United States with 29 different sports, including volleyball, according to the Amateur Athletic Union website. Established in 1888, the organization upholds its standard to encourage athletic development among young athletes.

“[Junior Olympics] is kind of seen as the most prestigious of the [with] end-of-year tournaments,” volleyball coach Alan Ho said.

To qualify  this event, interested players must compete for a “bid,” or qualification, to the Olympics with a club team. This tryout requires a club team to to win two out of three games against other competing teams.

“We just had to work together as a team, and [if] we didn’t we wouldn’t have gotten it,” Leitman said. “You really have to communicate a lot [and] really have to believe in [your teammates].”

To prepare for the Junior Olympics, Lietman will continue to practice more to learn about the complexities of volleyball.

“She has real good instincts,” Ho said. “It’s just a lot of intricacies, and like any other sport you have to learn the little tricks and nuances in certain situations, and she’s kind of starting to scratch the surface on that.”

Leitman recognizes her room to grow and continues to listen to her coach’s advice as the season continues. Practicing and learning how to work as a team will become a large portion of Leitman’s training.

“It helps a lot that [the coaches] teach it in their own ways, so it’s good have the different perspectives of what they’re both teaching me,” Leitman said.

As the Junior Olympics comes closer, Leitman intensely prepares for the big game.

“I really want to improve on my passing,” Leitman said, “[and] be a better teammate toward everyone.”