By Michael Muldoon
Clairee Putnam is making a lot of history at Windham High.
The senior already owns the school scoring record (boys and girls) with 974 points and recently became the first Jaguar boy or girl to earn a Division 2 basketball scholarship. The Eagle-Tribune Super Teamer committed to St. Anselm’s.
Last year’s girls area scoring leader at 18.3 points a game, the 5-5 Putnam hit the ground running. In her first varsity game, the school’s first ever varsity basketball game, she scored 21 points.
Putnam is also an Eagle-Tribune All-Star in soccer — she was captain of both sports as a junior — and vice president of the National Honor Society.
“All her hard work has paid off. She’s a tremendous worker on the court and in the classroom. She really cares about team goals over individual goals. She’s a super kid,” said Windham basketball coach Joe Mason.
In this week’s Around the Horn, Putnam talks about overcoming a serious childhood illness, her commitment to St. Anselm and her love of art.
So you committed to a basketball scholarship from St. Anselm? “I verbally committed last week. It’s the absolute best feeling in the whole world. I met the coaches and fell in love with it. It’s beyond excitement. The best part is it’s only a half hour from my house. My parents will be able to go to all the games. It’s like a dream come true.”
What made you commit at this point? “I had been talking to them for a few weeks. Both the new coaches. I had a great meeting with them. They called Monday night (Aug. 5) and offered. I knew right away. I just loved the school. I didn’t have to wait too long. Two days later I contacted them.”
Had any other schools offered? “For Division 2, St. Michael’s and SNHU were both on my list and a bunch of Division 3s like Brandeis, Rhode Island College, Connecticut College and Southern Maine.”
Are you still going to play soccer this fall? “Yes. Absolutely. We had camp last week. I’m pumped for soccer season. I love it.”
How did your summer go? “It was a lot of basketball. When I was back here I worked some basketball camps and was working in the school system for a program called JUMP. I mentor kids with special needs every Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Did you work at all? “I didn’t have time for a steady job except some babysitting.”
What’s your favorite personal athletic achievement? “Being able to play Division 2 in the NE-10. That was my dream to play in that league.”
Do you know what you want to study? “One of the reasons I chose it is that it’s an incredible academic school. We have close friends who went there. I’m going there for the education first. I want to major in secondary education and English. I want to be an English teacher and I want to coach, for sure.”
How are you doing academically at Windham? “I’m ranked 11th in a class of 167. I’m National Honor Society vice president. At our Academic Night, I won the St. Michael’s Book Award.”
What’s been the lowest point of your career? “When I was little I had leg braces. It was like 1-3 years old. My feet were turned in.”
What’s something people don’t know about you? “I love art. I love painting. I’m taking AP studio art this year.”
Are you from an athletic family? “My dad Kimball played soccer at Babson. My mom Lauri played basketball at Springfield. My brother Colby was cross country and volleyball captain at Windham.”
What’s your dream job? “A high school English teacher close to home to stay close to my family. I think it would be cool to coach with Joe Mason.”
What is your pet peeve? “People who smack their gum.”
Who do you follow on Twitter-Facebook? “I was following Paul Pierce.”
What is the most embarrassing song you have in your iPod? “Any Justin Bieber song.”
Group or singer: Chris Brown and Taylor Swift
Song: Holy Grail by Jay-Z
Book: Great Gatsby
Actor-actress: Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon
Movie: Forrest Gump
TV show: How I Met Your Mother
Athlete: Larry Bird
Food: Pasta with Alfredo
Restaurant: Longhorn Steakhouse
Course in school: Honors American Studies with Ryan O’Connor and Colleen Smith