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Athletes of the Month: Janae Rayborn & Julieanna Stith

Janae Rayborn

Janae Rayborn Lake City High School

Carrie Minden Photography

October Athlete of the Month Janae Rayborn is focused on her last season as a Lake City High School volleyball player. The senior knew a while back that this was her calling in athletics and what she wanted to expend her full energy on. “Over the years I have played basketball, soccer and tennis, but I eventually wanted to choose one sport to focus on full time. This was a really hard decision for me, but I'm so glad I chose volleyball,” said Janae.

When she was a freshman Janae played on the junior varsity team. When districts and state tournament came around, she was called up to the varsity squad and hasn’t looked back since. It’s the uniqueness of the game and communicating with teammates that makes the sport her favorite. “I love volleyball because it's extremely fast paced, competitive and all about team,” she said.

While Janae hasn’t chosen a college yet, she plans on attending secondary education and is also hoping to continue her volleyball career at the next level. She continues to excel in the classroom as well, having been on the Honor Roll for four years, a part of the DECA program, a mentor, and a member of the Sources of Strength and the Green Dot programs at Lake City High School.

As for what she’d like to study after high school, most of her ideas revolve around the medical field. “In the future I want to go into the medical field for either nursing or radiology. The medical field has always interested me and I want to go into a field where I can help others,” said Janae.

Janae adds that she’s met some of her very best friends playing the sport she loves and is thankful for the relationships that have come from playing. She’s also learned lessons she can apply to many aspects of her life. “I've learned all about how to work as a team, and I have also gained a lot of leadership skills that I can use in the future. I also learned hard work and dedication by playing year-round.”

Julieanna Stith Coeur d’Alene High School Julieanna Stith, known to most as Julie, isn’t afraid of challenging herself in all aspects of life. While balancing high school athletics and academics is a challenge to any student, Julie has taken it up a notch, competing on an Olympic Development Program and also taking courses at North Idaho College while still in high school. “My current GPA is 3.8 and I am planning on graduating with my associate’s degree when I graduate high school,” said Julie.

With an associate’s degree in hand, Julie doesn’t plan on slowing and already has her eye on a master’s degree for nursing. Soccer may or may not be in her future, but no matter where she goes she wants to end up in a field where she can help people. “In the future I hope to become a nurse or a nurse practitioner. I have always loved caring for people and helping people out in any way possible,” she said.

Last summer, Julie had the opportunity in playing at Nationals with the Thorns North FC 2000s team. The Coeur d’Alene-based team placed 2nd amongst competitive teams from all across the country.

“Even though we took second, it still was an amazing opportunity to play in a high level of competitive competition,” said Julie. That same year Julie also went to regionals with her Olympic Development Program.

Julie says one of the most difficult things she’s had to overcome in soccer is beating out the girl next to her. “Each day, during practice or game, you have to get better, and if that means winning every ball or playing smarter, you have to practice. “I wake up early and go to the gym so I can be stronger. I get extra touches in so I can have better ball skills. I push myself so I can beat out that girl in the game, and I push myself to give it my all because when that final whistle blows I have to know that I gave it all that I could,” she explained.

Soccer is the ultimate team sport and high level competitors need great endurance, strong communication skills and a knack for finding teammates. Julie will continue to work hard knowing she’s playing for so much more than herself. “I have learned that even through the hardest downfalls or setbacks you can’t let it hold you down. You have to rise up and keep pushing no matter what because you have 19 other girls counting on you to push through it.”

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