Lewis-Palmer Graduate Michaela Putnicki’s Return to Volleyball Court is Mad Race | The gallery


Since graduating from Lewis-Palmer High School in 2017, Michaela Putnicki has been on a wild ride that saw her enlist or enroll in five different colleges. She predicts that the University of Delaware will be her last.

“At the end of the day, it’s my own life and everything I do is my own decision,” said Putnicki, who will be playing for the school’s volleyball team. “I feel like I still have something left.”

If all goes according to plan, she will be Delaware’s first outside hitter this fall.

“Until you’re living your life, you don’t really understand what you want,” Putnicki told The Tribune before leaving for the Blue Hen State earlier this month. “I think Delaware is a perfect fit for me. I like the coaches. I like the team. I try to keep an open mind.

Putnicki, 21, began his preparatory career in the fall of 2013 at Castle View High School in Castle Rock. A starting away forward, she was second on the team in kills this season while helping the Sabercats in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.

Putnicki, who competed for the Monument-based Colorado Juniors during the offseason, transferred to Lewis-Palmer the following fall. She joined a Rangers team that had just graduated from the 2013 4A State Championship. The 2014 Lewis-Palmer team repeated and was ranked No. 1 nationally in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25.

In her final year at Lewis-Palmer, Putnicki was nationally acclaimed for her volleyball skills while helping the Rangers win another state title. She was named the 2016 Gatorade Colorado Volleyball Player of the Year and the 2016-17 Colorado Volleyball Athlete of the Year.

In November 2016, Putnicki signed his national letter of intent with the University of Virginia. But Putnicki never signed up.

After the Cavaliers coach was “fired,” Putnicki secured a release from his letter of intent. In the spring of 2017, she signed with Central Penn State. But her stay in Happy Valley was a disappointment. “I didn’t fit the culture at Penn State,” Putnicki said.

Putnicki has only appeared in three games and managed six assists while helping the Nittany Lions advance to the Final Four. At the end of the semester, she dropped out of school and enrolled at Wichita State, where she played spring ball for Wichita State in 2018. However, after suffering injuries and dissatisfaction with her environment in Kansas , Putnicki made a decision that drastically altered his plans.

“The state of Wichita did not challenge me academically,” Putnicki said. “I transferred to the state of Colorado and had no intention of playing volleyball again.”

Over the next two years, Putnicki focused solely on her studies, taking up to 18 units each semester as she prepared for her degree. In May, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in organization and management of innovation with great distinction.

But she got the bug from playing volleyball again.

“I hired a third party to help me find a program and Delaware turned out to be the perfect fit,” Putnicki said.

Last November, she announced that she would play for the Blue Hens in the fall of 2020 while pursuing a master’s degree in international business. She enters Delaware as a junior redshirt with two years of eligibility remaining.

Three of Putnicki’s former teammates believe she will excel on the pitch.

“Michaela has always been a hard worker and a great athlete,” said Kess Krutsinger, who plays the outside batter for South Mississippi. “Volleyball is like riding a bicycle. The first practices will be a bit difficult for ‘Put’, but I did not have a double for her to get back to it.

Aleyna Kennel, a starting libero / defensive specialist for Nova Southeastern University in Fort. Lauderdale, Fla. Played three seasons with Putnicki in high school. “Michaela had a unique and incredible experience,” Kennel said. “Being able to come back to the field and receive an offer from a DI school is incredible. I believe her experience with varsity volleyball has helped her and given her more volleyball wisdom.

Putnicki’s younger sister, Riley, played two seasons with her at Lewis-Palmer. Riley is now a setter for the University of Maryland in Baltimore County. Last year, UMBC faced Delaware in a non-conference game.

“It would be so good if we played against each other this year,” said Riley. “I could be the target of a few of his hits. I like to play with her and against her.

“She is very courageous. She knows what she wants. And it is decisive. People who know what they want are willing to sacrifice everything.

Michaela Putnicki is strong. She won’t let her criticism distract her.

“I try to keep an open mind,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s about getting an education. If I can enjoy playing volleyball along the way, that’s great.


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