By Michael Sudhalter
These days, The Hockaday School junior Olivia Wayne is very busy with academics, volleyball and volunteering.
Given that demanding daily routine, her Jewish faith is as important as it has ever been before.
“My faith has really shaped me as a person and an athlete,” Wayne said. “Attending Ann & Nate Levine Academy from Pre-K to eighth grade instilled that faith from a young age. We learned a lot from the weekly parshah and how it relates to our daily lives. When I go to shul now, I’m really happy that I know all of the prayers and songs.”
Wayne, who recently verbally committed to play volleyball for Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, was a leader on a team that won a gold medal for Team USA at the 2022 Maccabiah Games in Israel.
“It was just an amazing experience,” Wayne said. “It combined two things I love — being Jewish and playing volleyball.”
The daughter of Brandy and Mark Wayne, she is the treasurer of the Jewish Student Union (JSU) at Hockaday, and one of the factors in her decision in choosing Duke was the presence of a Jewish community on campus.
Wayne, 16, plays volleyball year-round. When she’s not competing for the Hockaday Daisies, Wayne is criss-crossing the United States playing for Lewisville-based Texas Advantage Volleyball (TAV).
Duke is well-established academically and in basketball, and Wayne is part of a group that is hoping to create a new narrative for volleyball. The Blue Devils Volleyball Program has won 11 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships, but the last one came in 2013.
Wayne plans to study pre-medicine at Duke, while exploring various options in the medical profession.
“I chose Duke for the amazing academics and athletic programs,” Wayne said; “They have the Collegiate Athlete Pre-Medical Experience (CAPE) Program, which helps athletes get involved in the medical field. They have a top-rated teaching hospital. I really like Coach Jolene Nagel — I know I’ll grow as a person and player under her guidance.”
With the recent news that Southern Methodist University (SMU) is joining the ACC in July, Wayne said it would be great to play a match against the Mustangs in Dallas. The Blue Devils already have two Dallas area players on the roster — Wayne’s former Hockaday teammate, freshman Lauren Ingram, and senior Sydney Yap, who graduated from Plano West.
“It will be really fun — I’m excited to play in front of friends and family,” said Wayne, a lifelong Dallas resident who chose Duke over SMU and Rice.
Like many of her peers, Wayne grew up playing every sport imaginable. She tried basketball, swimming, dance, gymnastics, golf, tennis and soccer.
At 6-foot-3, she often gets asked about playing basketball. She tried basketball and volleyball at Levine Academy, and strongly prefers playing volleyball. Her first time playing club volleyball was six years ago.
She enjoys basketball as a fan and will definitely be among the avid Duke fans at Cameron Indoor Stadium for each home basketball game.
When it came time to start her freshman year, Wayne had determined volleyball was her sport of choice. She made the transition from Levine Academy where she had 35 classmates in her grade, to Hockaday, where it’s approximately 100.
Nobody was happier to see Wayne on the Hockaday campus than head volleyball coach Allison Camp, who quickly determined that Wayne would be part of the varsity program from Day 1 of her freshman year.
“She was the only freshman who played varsity among the Class of 2025,” Camp said. “She’s definitely taken on a leadership role. She had to step up pretty quickly.”
Wayne appreciates Camp’s leadership and considers her a “second mom.”
“I can go to her office any day at school and talk to her about life,” Wayne said, “She’s always there supporting me, saying ‘you’ve got this next pass, this next hit.’ She sends text updates after the match and reminds me how proud she is. I am forever thankful for her coming into my life.”
In an effort to win a second Southern Preparatory Conference (SPC) Championship in three seasons, Camp asked Wayne to move to outside hitter this season.
“We are keeping her on the court for all six rotations,” Camp said. “She is a leader in the way she plays, acts and holds herself and her teammates accountable. She’s the best —we’re lucky to have her.”
Wayne said she’ll continue to play wherever the team needs her the most — next year at Hockaday and during her years at Duke.
“I think playing outside hitter will help me become a more well-rounded athlete,” Wayne said.
Wayne’s visible success on the volleyball court is the product of the preparation fans don’t see off the court. Twice per week, she wakes up at 6 a.m. for before school weight lifting sessions.
“My teammates make early morning weight lifting a great time,” Wayne said.
Classes begin at 8:45 a.m., and after a full day of school, Wayne practices volleyball from 4:15-6 p.m. She also has a private volleyball trainer.
During the club volleyball season, she’ll make the hour-long trip to Lewisville — often through traffic — for a three-hour practice.
She recently started running a volleyball clinic, introducing Hockaday first through fourth graders to the sport she loves.
“I am teaching them overhand serves, and it’s so fun to see them get excited,” Wayne said.
Beyond academics and volleyball, Wayne enjoys planning events for Hockaday’s growing JSU Chapter.
She’s also volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and a local animal shelter.
“After practice, I try to have some family time, eat dinner, do one to three hours of homework and go to bed,” Wayne said. “I have learned a great deal about time management.”