Hanson de Mayo makes college pick, heading west for volleyball, track and field – Reuters
ROCHESTER — Hannah Hanson has spent the past five years among the best female athletes Rochester Mayo has ever had.
Hanson, now a senior, has been playing varsity volleyball and basketball since eighth grade and has been a varsity track and field athlete since seventh grade.
The colleges had recruited her from all three sports.
On Saturday, Hanson made a college decision. No, she won’t do a next-level athletics trifecta. But she will do two.
Hanson said yes to NCAA Division II Biola University, an evangelical Christian institution in La Mirada, Calif., 20 miles from Los Angeles.
Also a star student (4.0 GPA), Hanson would pursue volleyball and athletics there.
“I’m really happy that Hannah has found the right place for herself,” Mayo track and field coach Jered Smiley said. “And it’s a place where she can do two things she loves (volleyball and athletics). She didn’t have to choose just one sport.
Hanson had been drafted at the Division I level in track and field (University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University, among others) and basketball (University of Denver). But the idea of devoting as much time as necessary to a Division I sport did not sit well with him. What she also wanted to avoid was having to reduce her sporting life to just one sport, another likely requirement had she moved up to Division I.
So, Biola University in sunny California, here it is.
“I made two visits there this summer, and it felt like (just) going there,” said Hanson, who is part of a group of triplets, along with brothers Isaiah and Levi. “Initially, I had never thought of going to California.
“But we have a pastor in our church who went (to Biola) and I also have a friend who goes there, and I heard a lot of good things about him. It’s a great Christian school and that’s something I was really looking for. You have to take Bible classes and do chapel. Faith is a big part of my life. I always wanted to deepen my faith in the university and practice high level sports there.
Hanson thinks both of these desires will be well satisfied at Biola. Although it knows less about its athletic program, Biola’s volleyball team clinched second place in its Pacific West Conference last year and landed two Division I transfers for the upcoming season. .
She is recruited as a passer by Biola, one of the three positions she has held (outside striker and right side hitter the others) in excellent Mayo teams. Hanson finished with 286 kills, 336 assists, 207 digs and 42 blocks last season when Mayo was 11-0 in the Big Nine Conference, 20-10 overall.
In track and field, Hanson was a star hurdler and jumper. She competed against a packed, record-setting field in the hurdles this past state meet and finished fourth in the 100 and fifth in the 300, setting personal and school bests in both.
Hanson likes the idea of competing in a place — California — where the weather is cooperative year-round for athletics.
“We’re going to have a great, long outdoor season,” she said. “I’m going to spend a lot of time there.”
Mayo’s volleyball coach Deb Frederick thinks Hanson can be special in many ways at Biola. She also feels she is ready for the adventures that await her here, those that will come nearly 2,000 miles from her Rochester home.
“When she came back from one of her visits to Biola, she was really excited about it,” Frederick said. “I think she’s going to be ready to spread her wings.”