A majority of high school athletes started playing their sport of choice before they could walk.
And the same is true for Sumner senior Jamie Lange.
Lange is a two sport threat for the Spartans and has been playing soccer since she was 4 and basketball since she was 7 years old.
What hooks student athletes and makes them want to play at such a young age?
Well, for Lange she said she grew up watching her older sister play sports and she “wanted to be just like her.”
Lange’s athletic career won’t end when she walks across the stage in June.
In February, along with five of her Sumner soccer teammates, Lange announced she signed her letter of intent to play collegiate soccer for the University of Puget Sound.
She said after visiting the campus in Tacoma, she “fell in love.”
She added, the soccer coaches helped seal the deal.
“I could not imagine playing for four more years for anybody else,” she said. “Not only do they want good soccer players but they also seek out and recruit good humans, which creates an unbelievable team chemistry.”
Sumner athletic director Jeff Baines would agree that Lange is also a good human.
“She has a huge heart and cares about her teammates, her school and the students of Sumner High School,” he said. “Jamie is one of those rare student athletes that has the great impact on a school and community. She is a special young lady.”
Lange said her decision to play collegiate soccer instead of basketball was decided her sophomore year of high school.
She said she had been playing Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball from eighth grade until her sophomore year.
During that time, she had moved up on the roster and had earned a starting spot.
But to Lange, she said she started to feel “burnt out on the sport and it didn’t really seem fun to me.”
Lange plays goalkeeper and has been doing so ever since was 10.
She said she enjoys that position because as goalkeeper you aren’t in the action all the time.
“However, most don’t know that the goalkeeper has the best seat in the house,” Lange said.
She added, aside from blocking occasional shots, her job as goalie is to communicate with the rest of the team because she can see everything that is happening on the field.
“It’s a much more complex position than people think,” she said. “And that’s why I absolutely love it.”
Lange finished her final season as goalie for the Spartans in the fall.
When fall sports were wrapping up, Lange’s final season of playing for Sumner was right around the corner.
Basketball season was getting ready to tip off.
Her senior season came to an end during the first half of the district championship game when she went out with an injury. “Jamie Lange is one of those kids that will never be replaced,” Sumner basketball coach Jordan Moog said. “The greatest part about her time at Sumner is that her impact goes FAR beyond the basketball floor.”
It was later diagnosed that she tore her anterior cruciate ligament and partially tore her lateral collateral ligament.
Since the district game in late February, Lange said her recovery is “coming along very well.”
Aside from a concussions previously and dislodging an accessory bone in her foot freshman year after landing wrong after a rebound, this is Lange’s only major injury.
“It’s definitely one of the hardest experiences I’ve had,” she said.
She said she has spoken with her UPS coaches and they understand the situation.
She added, the decision to have her red shirt or not will come later based on how her recovery goes and how she feels.
“I am definitely in no hurry to rush getting back,” Lange said. “I don’t want to reinjure it.”
She said right now, the estimated recovery is nine months until she can return to full competition and contact.
She said she’ll have to take the time to get her muscles back to the condition they were pre-injury so she can “give 100 percent in everything that I do.”
Lange’s initial thoughts after landing wrong during the district game was pain, she said.
It was pure pain.
She said once she calmed down and it started to feel better, she said, she wanted to go back out there.
Right before halftime, Lange was heavily taped at the knee and made her way back onto the court.
She lined up as an opposing player shot free throws.
Once Lange boxed out, she said, “it completely gave out.”
She said that was the moment she knew she wasn’t going to be able to finish the game.
It wasn’t until the MRI results came in, that she believed she had torn her ACL, Lange said.
“I was absolutely devastated,” she said. “(Nobody) wants to go out their senior year.”
Lange was co-captain this past season and she said she began to fill her role on the team in a different way.
She started being a cheerleader and a captain from the bench, she said.
Lange’s decision sophomore year to focus on soccer at the next level changed this year.
“I did not expect to have the senior season I did,” she said.
She added, basketball may be in her future depending on how she feels post-rehab and therapy.
Lange’s stellar senior basketball season was highlighted by the number of awards she was honored.
She was named first team all area, Washington Interscholastic Activities Association player of the week, all league co-Most Valuable Player and USA Today player of the week.
However, she said she does not pay attention to the recognition she receives.
“Awards or no awards, it wouldn’t change how I play,” Lange said.
She added, the honors do help people notice the extra time and effort she puts into playing.
As the Spartans look to the coming seasons, without Lange, “it’s going to be very tough,” Moog said.
“In all honesty, she is irreplaceable in our program,” Moog said.
Sumner soccer coach Robi Turley said Lange has been starting since her freshman year and is a “huge reason why we have two state championships to brag about.”
Turley said replacing not only her athletic skill but her leadership will be hard.
Both coaches and Baines look forward to what she accomplishes during her time at UPS.
The community knows Lange as an athlete but outside of sports, she said one of her favorite things to do is spend time with family.
She enjoys times spent grocery shopping, painting nails, fishing and laughing.
“Family is and always will be so important to me,” she said.
She said she is also fascinated with people.
“I am an avid people watcher at mall, airports, restaurants,” she said.
This year, Lange said one of her favorite memories is when the team went to San Diego for a basketball tournament.
While there, they got to go to Disneyland.
“Who could forget Disneyland?” Lange said.
She said she’ll never forget the trip, the team went on the Tower of Terror four times and decided to go on Splash Mountain at night when the line was short.
She said she was sitting in the front and was soaked after the first drop.
“I was crying in the happiest place on earth,” she said.
A favorite moment from a basketball game is when she hit a three pointer against Bonney Lake.
She said, she remembers looking at Moog and seeing her “shaking her head and laughing.”
The basketball team also performed a lip sync and dance during the Benefit Night Talent Show.
“We really put ourselves our there and it was an absolute blast,” she said.
Those moments are from senior year but when Lange looked back at her four years spent at Sumner, she said when she was a freshman she got to play on the same team as her sister, who was a senior, and that was “one of the coolest experiences.”
Lange said her mom, dad and sister are inspirations to her.
Her mom played soccer and fastpitch and her dad played college football, she said, and she enjoys listening to stories about their time playing.She also looks to her sister, who she credits with teaching her the importance of sportsmanship.
“She is the one of the most selfless people I know and (I am forever thankful that) she taught me that it is okay to be nice even when you’re in competition,” Lange said.
Lange is also inspired by Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Josh Ford and also University of Washington basketball player Kelli Kingma.
Lange said Kingma was battling an injury when they were roommates when they played AAU basketball and she showed her how to not let your injuries affect your passion for the game.
“Now I see this as very helpful advice,” Lange said. “It is very applicable and I do not plan to let this injury in anyway affect the passion I have.”At UPS, Lange plans to study physical therapy and become an athletic trainer or therapist.
Aside from her studies and time spent on the field and maybe even the court, Lange is looking forward to meeting new people.
She said UPS is also a national school and she “can’t wait to get the opportunity to study abroad.”
Reach Sarah Wehmann at email@example.com or 360-825-2555 ext. 5060. Follow her on Twitter @swehmann_SOUND for more news, pictures and local events.