Q&A With Courtney Thompson

Oct. 11, 2006

Senior setter Courtney Thompson has a had a stellar volleyball career not only at Washington but at Kentlake High School. In four years at Washington she has re-written the record books, as well as leading the program to its first ever National Championship.

GoHuskies.com caught up the former Honda Award winner this week.

GoHuskies.com: Your high school (Kentlake) threw a celebration for you on Monday to commemorate your years there. The even retired your jersey. How was that?
Courtney Thompson: It was really cool. I got to see a lot of people that I grew up with and that made a huge impact on my life. It was actually really special. Usually those things are really awkward, just getting that kind of attention. I was a little worried that it would be uncomfortable, but they did a really nice job.

GH: What was your high school experience like, winning 91-straight matches at one point and three State Championships?
CT: It was very special. It was a great group of girls I grew up with. We had fun going to practice and everyday we worked hard. It was always `what else can we do, lets try this' trying to get better. Of course winning is awesome. Our coach understood what was going on and he reminded us to never take it for granted. People dream about going to state, much less winning it, and to do that for three years and to be around people you love is awesome.

GH: Did your success in high school make the transition to college easier?
CT: I think the expectation of winning. I've learned to not focus on that a little better. But just that attitude that you're going to win and that's what we do and do whatever it takes to get there. I mean everyone says that so I don't know. Who knows.

GH: You've won four championships now, what else do you have left to win?
CT: I got one more national title hopefully. From there I don't know. I'll just keep riding this wave and see where it goes. I'll keep working hard and try to control the things that I can control. I'd love to play in the Olympics, I don't know who wouldn't. To get that opportunity would be unreal.

GH: Have you thought about the chance you could play for Jim again at the Olympic level?
CT: That would be pretty sweet. We talked about it last year that he should go coach over sees in Italy or something and we'll all go join him and have a reunion. I think he's the best coach in the world. We've grown pretty close so it would be unreal to play for him again. I wouldn't want to play for him just because I played for him here, I'd want to earn the spot, but he wouldn't take me for that reason so I'm not too worried about that.

GH: What is it like being a senior?
CT: It's a little different. You're just in a different place. You've been through a lot. I'm learning to enjoy things that are going to be gone. Just the nights with the roommates and the teammates. I've spent four years here and I've gone all out and enjoyed every second of it. I'm going to be tired and I'm going to be ready for what's next.

GH: Looking ahead to pack the arena night, do you think the fans can set the attendance record?
CT: I hope so. It helps that we have basketball right after. I know Romar has been pressing about coming to our game first and that means a lot to us. It's so fun playing at home and the more people the better.

GH: How has this season been different, with almost a totally different team?
CT: We've been in different spots every year. As long as we are in the same spot at the end of the year it's good. We've been through a lot and we're kind of back into the swing. We know that it's easier said than done to stay on track the whole year. We've been training well and we just have to keep doing that. It's a different challenge. The team is different, the environment is different and my role is different. I'm learning as I go. I've been making mistakes my whole career, but as long as I keep working hopefully it will go alright.

GH: What has your new role been like?
CT: There are only a few of that went through last year. At the same time I'm one of the only seniors. Just being that role model and showing them what I do is about all I can do. I'm a vocal leader. Just trying to get everyone to understand what it takes is the biggest thing. The best thing I can do is to take care of my business and they'll see that. You want something so bad and you try so hard that you're intentions are right. But being a leader you make a lot of mistakes, or I do, so as long as I keep learning from them I think things will go okay, or I hope they will.

GH: Reflect on your career a little, what will you remember?
CT: There are things I'll never forget. I think in any activity you learn the lessons you are going to need whether you're a mom or whatever. Jim does a great job of telling us that. This stuff carries over. The lessons I'm learning about people and how to do something great, all that stuff is really going to help me. I'll remember games and I'll remember days. I'll remember getting into with Jim in the office. You learn from the good days and bad days. This means so much to me that I'm not going to forget it.

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