Clarion senior standout excels in volleyball, basketball
College Football Videos
With a grandfather who played two sports at Clarion and an aunt who swam there, Hannah Heeter is athletic by nature. With four older brothers who played sports, she's competitive by nurture.
Those attributes have helped Heeter craft one of the most decorated careers in the history of Clarion women's athletics.
She's coming off a junior year that saw her earn All-PSAC West honors in volleyball and basketball — she was the only player in the PSAC to average a double-double (14.4 points, 13.3 rebounds) — as well as become the first Golden Eagle to earn academic All-American honors for two sports in the same year.
“I'm always surprised, but at the same time, I'm pretty determined when I play a sport to be the best,” said Heeter, who maintains a 3.9 GPA as a pre-med/biology major. “I'm proud of myself and what I've accomplished, and hopefully I can keep it going for my last year.”
Heeter was not heavily recruited out of District 9 Cranberry. She caught the eye of Clarion volleyball coach Jennifer Mills while attending a camp at the university. Though Mills recognized that Heeter had technical flaws in her game, she offered her a scholarship after the camp.
“We saw size and athleticism,” said Mills. “Let's put it this way: I love a good project. She's an athlete physically that you don't get too many of those, and I'm willing to take a chance on that.”
Her recruitment to the basketball team happened almost by accident.
Heeter decided she was bored during the spring of her freshman year, so she and some friends formed an intramural basketball team. She was spotted playing by a couple of Clarion's men's players, who told a member of the women's basketball staff about her. Soon after, she had an offer to join the basketball team.
Mills usually doesn't let her players participate in a second sport out of concern for their academics. But Heeter was granted permission — provided she did not do any basketball activities until volleyball season ended.
“She's one of those kids who is better busy,” said Mills. “For an athlete like that who isn't going to let her grades slip … I'm OK with it.”
Heeter is hoping the volleyball team advances far enough into the postseason this year that she'll have to put basketball on hold for a few more weeks. Heading into Friday's match at East Strousburg, the Golden Eagles are 19-1 following a win Tuesday against Juniata, and Heeter would like a repeat of her freshman year when the team advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.
“We talked as a team that we wanted to keep a game-by-game mentality and to not really think too far into the future,” she said. “That tended to be our problem the past couple years.”
With team success usually come individual accolades, and Heeter likely will be in line for plenty more of those. But Heeter wants to leave a team legacy at Clarion.
“I want to try to get as close to a national championship as a team as possible,” she said. “My favorite moment so far has been my trip to the Elite Eight my freshman season. That's kind of what you dream of. I'm not giving up hope that I can get (a national title) before I leave.”
Chuck Curti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.