Athlete of the Week: Hayden Spears, Windermere boys volleyball

After getting off to a hot start, Windermere boys volleyball’s Hayden Spears is ready to lead the Wolverines in the second half of the season.

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At 6-foot-7, Hayden Spears has been an intimidating force at the middle blocker spot for the Windermere High boys volleyball team. His 86 kills and 15 total blocks in 24 sets both lead the Wolverines this season. 

Beyond his play for Windermere (5-3), the Ohio State signee has shown that same dominant form at the club level. Spears has earned a spot on the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American watch list and has participated three times in USA volleyball’s national team development program. 

The basics

Age: 18

Sport: Boys volleyball

Grade: Senior

School: Windermere

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How does it feel to be named Athlete of the Week? 

Amazing. I feel that the recognition shows that the hard work is paying off.

What do you like the most about volleyball? 

The competitive games and the camaraderie with teammates. 

What is your goal for this season — both for yourself and the team? 

My goal for myself is to (always) play my best game and to help my team go as far as we can. My goal for the team is to make it to states.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from volleyball? 

I’ve learned to be a leader by showing examples of hard work and competitiveness to the younger guys in high school.


Who is your favorite athlete?

Michael Jordan. I’ve always loved his competitive mindset and how hard he works at everything. 

What is your favorite volleyball memory? 

Winning Florida Fest last year.

What is your go-to pre-game meal? 


What is your go-to pre-game hype song? 

“Out for the Night, pt. 2” by 21 Savage, specifically Travis Scott’s verse.

What is your favorite non-sports hobby? 


What is your favorite subject in school?

My favorite subject is science. The world is fascinating! 

What are three things you would take with you to a deserted island?

Water, a fishing pole and a tent. 

(They’re) the only things you would need to live. And I love fishing, so that just sounds like paradise.

What is your favorite movie?

“Stepbrothers.” Will Farrell is one of my favorite actors, and the movie is hilarious.

If you could have dinner with one person — dead or alive — who would it be?

Elon Musk. I would ask him how to make that much money.

If you could go back in time to a specific period in history, when would you go?

The 1990s, because there was no social media, and it looks like it was peaceful.

Looking back, what piece of advice would you give your younger self? 

No matter what, always stay positive and follow your dreams.

If you could ask your future self a question, what would it be? 

Did I make it pro?

Who is your favorite superhero? 

My favorite superhero is Batman. He’s mysterious and stays calm under pressure.

Who is your favorite supervillain?

My favorite supervillain is Bane, because he’s super smart and devious. 

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? 

Mind reading, because you could accomplish almost anything.

If you could travel to three places in the world, where would you go? 

The Swiss Alps for snowboarding, the Great Barrier Reef for fishing, and Turks and Caicos for relaxing.

If you could be an animal for a day, which one would you be? 

An eagle. I would want to know what it feels like to fly and to be the toughest bird out there!

What is your most controversial food take? 

Syrup belongs on eggs.

Does pineapple belong on pizza? 

Absolutely not.

Sam Albuquerque is the Sports Editor for the Orange Observer. Please contact him with story ideas, results and statistics.

 Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @SamBAlbuquerque

Instagram: @OrangeObserverSam



Sam Albuquerque

A native of João Pessoa, Brazil, Sam Albuquerque moved in 1997 to Central Florida as a kid. After earning a communications degree in 2016 from the University of Central Florida, he started his career covering sports as a producer for a local radio station, ESPN 580 Orlando. He went on to earn a master’s degree in editorial journalism from Northwestern University, before moving to South Carolina to cover local sports for the USA Today Network’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his lovely wife, Sarah, newborn son, Noah, and dog named Skulí.

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