From pitcher to hitter: Multisport athlete switches to volleyball

Andrew Clausen

Following a strong pitching performance for the Appalachian State softball team last year, sophomore Caroline Wainright has taken her talents to the Mountaineers’ volleyball team.

Wainright is now an outside hitter for App State’s volleyball squad.

Volleyball is nothing new for Wainright. A graduate of South Central High School in Winterville, Wainright was a multi-sport athlete competing on the basketball, softball and volleyball teams throughout high school.

Initially, however, it was her performance as a softball player that caught the eye of App State recruiters and brought her to Boone.

“They were recruiting me and I had an offer to come here and my older sister came here as well,” Wainright said. “I’d come up to visit her, was familiar with the campus, had already kind of fallen in love with the team and I just pictured myself being an athlete up here.”

As a freshman, Wainright posted impressive numbers pitching for the Mountaineers, leading the team with nine wins and a 3.33 ERA. In addition, she tallied 50 strikeouts and two complete-game shutouts in the 2012 season.

However, following her freshman year, Wainright decided to change her athletic pursuit and play volleyball again.

“After my freshman year, I decided that wasn’t the route that I wanted to go anymore,” Wainright said. “So I emailed [volleyball head coach] Matt [Ginipro] and he said he’d love to have me come out, so I basically did a tryout and walked on to the team.”

Wainright’s talents have not gone unnoticed. In just her first season, she has already earned the respect of her teammates and coaches.

“She comes to practice every day to work,” sophomore Jess Keller said. “When you come to practice with that mentality, you can only go up. That’s the best thing about Caroline, she just wants to get better every day.”

Wainright played her first game for the Mountaineers in a 0-3 loss against North Carolina State on Sept. 6. She also saw action against North Carolina A&T, recording a kill and dig in the win.

Since then, she has become a valuable asset to the team.

“I think she’s going to become a really good player for us,” Ginipro said. “She’s already a great role player for us, she does a great job on our B-side of making it tough for our starters to deal with and compete against.”

In addition to her skills as a player on the court, Ginipro said her attitude toward the game is what makes her such a great athlete.

“Her attitude is just contagious, that’s really my biggest expectation from her,” Ginipro said. “To keep spreading the positive outlook on life to everyone on the team.”

The Mountaineers will play at Elon University on Friday at 7 p.m.

Story: CHRIS DEVERELL, Intern Sports Reporter