Julia Bohlinger (12) and her teammates discuss their next play. Coaches have said that teamwork is one of Bohlingers strongest attributes.
Julia Bohlinger (12) and her teammates discuss their next play. Coaches have said that teamwork is one of Bohlinger’s strongest attributes.
Holland Luedtke

Senior wishes WHS volleyball a loving goodbye, welcomes college volleyball career

Julia Bohlinger reflects on her WHS volleyball experience before she plays for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tensions rose as the Windsor High School volleyball team hit their last ball over the net on Nov. 11 at the Denver Coliseum. With the final buzzer ringing in the ears of the crowd, a sudden sadness washed over the athletes on the team due to the loss of not only the game but many beloved members.

Lacing her shoes to play the last time for her high school career was Julia Bohlinger (12). Bohlinger committed during her junior year to play volleyball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). She was a member of the WHS volleyball team for all four years, making this final year a bittersweet goodbye.

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“Playing my last game felt very weird. I have been a part of the program for the past four years and thinking about never playing for Windsor High School ever again made me sad but proud and grateful that I had the opportunity in the first place. The team this year was so special and we don’t have any regrets about how it ended. I feel so blessed to have been a part of this team and program,” Bohlinger stated. 

Growing up playing volleyball, she has since taken her innate talent and added hard work and dedication to become stronger at the sport. Starting from the bottom and working herself up to being the oldest on the team, she’s gone from the player being inspired to now being the player to inspire others. One of her high school coaches, Laverne Huston (staff), has been one of the many Bohlinger has inspired — not only to be a better coach but to be a better person as well.

“She’s a great kid. Not only a very good volleyball player but just a great human. Someone who comes around once in a while. Probably from the time she stepped on the floor, until the last time we will see her on the Windsor floor, she has set the bar so high. She has made coaching fun and less work because she’s been that type of leader,” Huston explained.

Not only has she inspired coaches, but she’s also had a big impact on younger students. Avery Smiley (09) has only had the opportunity to play on the court with Bohlinger for one year but has still seen the way she strives to do her best for her team. 

“She’s very positive. She’s a very positive person and she’s very welcoming to everybody. When I first came here, she was always open and always helping me get better. I think she has some great leadership traits,” Smiley stated.

Working alongside a team is what Bohlinger uses to her advantage to thrive. The game empowers her to be her best self as an athlete and as a person in general.

Julia Bohlinger (12) poses in her University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill uniform. She committed to play volleyball for the university during her junior year of high school. (Julia Bohlinger)

“I love volleyball because I think it’s a true team sport where no one person can take over. Everybody is involved and everybody has a specific job so it feels like everybody is important. I also love how fun and energetic it is. Also how mentally back and forth it is. It’s mentally challenging but it’s really fun that it’s challenging because volleyball is a game of mistakes so learning how to get past those mistakes is very helpful in life, too,” Bohlinger explained.

Though the commitment process took more time than expected, Bohlinger finally determined her thoughts about going to college at University of North Carolina. Because both she and the volleyball coaches at her chosen college had similar views, that caught Bohlinger’s eye and ultimately led her to make the decision.

“I committed to North Carolina for a few different reasons. It’s a school that if I wasn’t going to play volleyball, it’s a school that I just wanted to be at. Sports aren’t everything, so say I couldn’t play sports anymore, it’s a school that I just really would enjoy being at. I also loved the coaches. We see eye to eye on a lot of things. Their faith is important to them which is also something important to me, so I appreciate that and I love the culture of the whole team and the school in general,” Bohlinger explained.

With the continuous support of coaches, teammates and parents, Bohlinger continues to strive and push herself harder for her college career. Although playing for Windsor High is now a memory of the past, it will continue to be remembered and told in her future stories to come. 

“My parents are super supportive because I could just bounce ideas off of them. My mom and dad both did collegiate athletics so they were super helpful. They’ve never pushed me in any direction but they always have my best interest. So it was easy to talk to them because I knew they wanted what was best for me too,” Bohlinger said.

As her high school volleyball career came to an end, Bohlinger knew this wasn’t the end of her volleyball career; it opened a brand new, unknown story that she is eager to jump into.                         

Julia Bohlinger (12) and Avery Smiley (09) play during their last game of the season at the Denver Coliseum on Nov. 11. This was Smiley’s first year working with Bohlinger. (David Johnson)

“I would love to play freshman year. It’s a very lofty task but it’s good to have goals to look forward to. But I would also love to win the ACC, which is the conference that North Carolina is in. I think that would be a super great accomplishment,” Bohlinger stated.

Not only are her teammates and coaches wishing her luck, but they’re also excited to see where her story will take her. With the never-ending love and support from her high school volleyball team, Bohlinger will continue to prove to everyone that she can do anything she puts her mind to while continuing to make a name for herself.

“She’s contagious. Her attitude, her enthusiasm, her passion for the game and how she’s able to lead and bring her team together. They follow her. She’s just been a super addition to the Windsor High School program. Not only as an athlete but as a student as well. She’s just a really great human,” Huston explained.

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