Given the suspension of athletics in the county, the Daily Journal decided to dive into our 20-year archives to bring readers some of our favorite stories over the years.
AUG. 2, 2012 — There are certain images that deserve a form of immortality.
At Carlmont High School, a quick lap around the small gymnasium will provide you with one such image. It’s of Justine Record high off the ground and in the process of sending a missile over the net for a score. From 2005 to 2008, it happened over and over again, much to the chagrin of the opposition.
Fast forward four years, Record is taking her high-flying act overseas after a stellar career at Virginia Tech that included the program’s first ever trip the NCAA tournament. Record, who graduated in May with a degree in English, announced she’ll be playing professionally for Toulon Provence Mediterranean Var Volleyball located in Toulon, France.
“I’m excited for this opportunity and the experience to go over there and the chance to continue to play,” Record said. “I mean, why not play the game you love for as long as you can? I remember I started playing volleyball when I was 14 in an area league and it never occurred to me that I would be playing professionally. I was just playing for fun. And I still am.”
Much like her legendary leaps on the volleyball court, Record’s career appears to do nothing but ascend.
A starter for her four years as a Hokie, Record ended her career ranked fourth on Tech’s all-time service aces list with 176 and seventh all-time in digs with 1,238. She also concluded her career with 1,121 kills and 133 blocks.
She appeared in all 31 matches her senior season, missing just one start while playing in 115 sets. Her final year at Tech concluded with 257 kills, 48 aces, 380 digs and 51 blocks and a team-leading 12 double-doubles. Record was also a preseason All-ACC team member.
“I think going away to college was probably one of the best opportunities that ever happened to me,” Record said. “I initially didn’t want to be so far away from home, but I ended up going to a volleyball program that wanted me and offered me a full ride as a player at the Division I level.
“It definitely wasn’t an easy transition. But a lot of my teammates were from out of state which was nice because everyone was going through the same experience that I was and I think that’s why our team was so close — everyone was from a different area.”
Record went to Tech after a jaw-dropping four years at Carlmont that included a 2006 Daily Journal Volleyball Player of the Year award.
“They were coaches that I admire because they pushed me to play different positions that I never played before,” Record said of her time as a Scot. “I was an outside hitter at the high school level, but I also played right side during the club season. At one point I played middle in high school. And it was because of their coaching and their belief in me as a player that I realized that the only limitations you have are the ones you create for yourself.”
Heading into Tech, there were questions about Record’s size. But Record said she was lucky to have coaches who believed in her regardless of her frame.
“They embraced my role and I was really thankful for that because there aren’t a lot of coaches who view a left-handed player as an outside hitter, especially at 5-8, that’s the big thing,” she said. “I was playing at the DI level and coaches don’t expect a short lefty on the outside.
“For most hitters, the biggest transition is the speed of the game and how big the block is. I definitely struggled with hitting around the block and hitting high-hand, finding ways to score that way.”
But Record’s hard work and efforts helped the Virgina Tech program reach new heights.
“I feel very proud to be a part of the first team to make the NCAA tournament,” Record said. “Our teams has improved and I think the program got better each year. I definitely think a lot of it has to do with the coaching. And I think I improved because my teammates, we pushed each other a lot. It’s just kind of contagious.”
Volleyball appears to be one of those good diseases Record can’t seem to shake. As her career with Tech wound down, phone calls to friends playing overseas and the subsequent advice that followed landed her with the opportunity to continue to make French fans “ohh” and “ahh” with her explosive play in the future.
“This is the right fit for now,” Record said. “After you’re done playing for four years, some players don’t want to play overseas and don’t want to continue their careers. But for me, I love playing volleyball so much I just couldn’t get enough. I think my main objective at this point is just taking this opportunity to gain life experience, to travel and to go play where I possibly can, reaching my full potential.”
For Record, that potential is way up in the clouds. And given her reputation, Record definitely has the hops to reach it.