Featured Athlete of the Week: Lillie Stein, South Putnam
Lillie Stein is a three-sport athlete at South Putnam who competes in cross country, basketball and softball.
Banner Graphic: How long have you been playing sports, and what do you think you have learned from them?
Lillie Stein: “I’ve been playing sports as long as I can remember. I always loved basketball, and softball is up there. I started volleyball in middle school, and I liked it. This year I started running cross country instead of playing volleyball, and I really liked it too. It’s really hard and demanding. Sports have taught me leadership and how to work as part of a team, and how to be mentally strong.”
BG: Had you ever run 3.1 miles in a row before cross country this fall?
LS: “No, I had not. I really wasn’t sure I was going to do it when tryouts started. The cross country coach [Brandon Welti] and [varsity basketball coach Brian] Gardner encouraged me to do it, so I gave it a try and I stuck with it. I was actually surprised that I did well. I was hoping to go on to regionals as a team, but I wasn’t really thinking I would advance to the semistate individually. I was really surprised.”
BG: What is the key to being good at cross country?
LS: “You have to be mentally strong. It’s all mental.”
BG: Has running cross country helped you in basketball?
LS: “Yes, it has helped a lot with both the mental part and the physical part of basketball.”
BG: Winning the basketball sectional last year had to be a special thing for you. Talk about what that meant to you.
LS: “Yeah, it was great. Especially since I came [to South Putnam] from Cascade, beating them [in the semifinals] and winning it on their court was really special.”
BG: Was your move from Cascade to South Putnam a good one?
LS: “Yes, it has gone really well. The people here are very accepting
BG: How has this season gone for you?
LS: “I think we can win another sectional. We have to work hard and cut our turnovers down. I think we do it. I think I’ve played pretty well this year, but I need to work on staying out of foul trouble.”
BG: Did you play in the summer this year when not playing for the school team?
LS: “Yes, I played for Indy United. We played in a lot of tournaments at Westfield and Franklin, mostly around Indianapolis. I think I played pretty well for the team.”
BG: What are your plans for after high school?
LS: “I’m planning to go to Franklin College, study special education and play basketball. I’ve always loved working with special ed students. I am trying to set up a class this spring where I can work with the students in our school. There are a lot of jobs in special education, and that’s great too.”
BG: What kinds of things do you do at school besides sports?
LS: “I’m in FCA and Spanish Club.”
BG: How is softball looking this year?
LS: “I play catcher and shortstop. I like shortstop better. I think our team will be better this year. We have some good young players moving up.”
BG: What kinds of things do you like to do that are not school or sports related?
LS: “My favorite movie is ‘Lion King’, my favorite song is ‘Hey, Jude’ by the Beatles and my favorite TV shows are ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and “One Tree Hill’. I like to hang out with my friends.”
BG: What is something that you have never done before that you would like to do someday?
LS: “Skydiving. I think the adrenaline rush would be like no other.”
BG: What are your favorite and least favorite foods?
LS: “My favorite would be pickles, and I don’t have a least favorite. I like just about everything.”
BG: Do you have any pets?
LS: “I have two cats and four dogs. My cats are my babies, named El Gato and Patrick. The dogs are named Bemis, Molly, Duncan and Wilson.”
BG: Do you have any special skills that people may not know about?
LS: “My dad told me that when I was little he gave me a Rubik’s Cube and I was able to put it back together.”
BG: What is your favorite place you’ve ever been?
LS: “California. We went to Los Angeles and San Diego, and I really liked it there.”
BG: If you could describe your personality in one word, what would that word be and why?
LS: “Goofy. I am just goofy in every way. I love to laugh.”
BG: On a lighter note, have you always had trouble with your basketball shorts?
LS: “I’ve always messed with them. I don’t think I’ve ever had a pair that fit right. It doesn’t really get in the way of being able to play, though.”
BG: Do you have any goals for the rest of the year?
LS: “I’d like to win another sectional, and work on keeping my grades up [straight As].”
BG: Discuss your entire South Putnam experience, including academics and any classes or teachers who have helped you a lot.
LS: “My overall experience has been very good. My teachers have helped me a lot. They are very accepting, and they are really good at working one-on-one with you.”
BG: Have you thought about where you would like to live after you get out of college?
LS: “I’d like to stay around here and teach and coach. I like it around here. I’m a homebody.”