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Haley Hart, the Crusader

Photo+by+Cassidy+Stolarek
Photo by Cassidy Stolarek

Photo by Cassidy Stolarek

Photo by Cassidy Stolarek

Cassidy Stolarek, Staff Reporter

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This week, Lincoln-Way East Varsity volleyball player Haley Hart graciously gave me the opportunity to pick her brain. I was looking for some of her best advice for success, and additionally wanted to hear of her journey with volleyball so far. Hart recently made a verbal commitment to play Division One volleyball for Valparaiso University in Indiana, and spend her college career as a Crusader!
Haley started playing school volleyball in seventh grade at Hickory Creek Middle School and club volleyball with Ultimate. Haley loved “being a part of a team and the excitement of playing some of the best teams in the country at big tournaments.” That is why she has continued playing all these years. “When I first started playing, I didn’t think I would be able to play in college because I was still learning. [After] I started playing on a better club team at a higher intensity, I realized how much I love the sport, and I really wanted to play in college.” Haley’s parents can always be seen filming and cheering her on in the stands, and she views them as her biggest supporters. At East, Haley says she works best with teammates Kate Bruder and Molly Hackett. She explained, “They are easy to connect with on the court.” Over the past three years, and with her unwavering hard work and dedication, Hart has definitely earned a space on the wall of varsity athletes. Haley says she chose Valpo because the coaches were welcoming and helpful throughout the process. When she met other athletes that had committed to Valpo, she felt she “connected really well with them.” Haley can soon enjoy the camaraderie of her new teammates, and maybe she’ll let them in on her game-day rituals, which include listening to music at maximum volume and drinking muscle milk.
On behalf of all young athletes striving for the once in a lifetime opportunity Haley seized, I asked for her secret, the golden ticket if you will, on how this whole situation came about. Hart got this opportunity by sending out emails to coaches from various schools, as well as sending them her schedule for tournaments so they could come and watch her play. After viewing Hart’s drive and talent, Valpo coaches called and offered her a deal she couldn’t refuse. Upon committing to go to school in Indiana, Haley described the feeling as pure excitement. “I can’t wait to take the next step up and play high level college teams.” When asked what she looks forward to most about this new chapter in her life, Haley replied, “being a part of a family and spending every day becoming a better student and athlete.” Surely she will be able to do just that at Valparaiso, known for its high intensity sporting events and top-level education. Haley’s advice for young athletes wanting to follow in her footsteps… “Never give up, no matter how hard it gets. Everyone is going to have lows, but the highs are worth playing for.” Spoken like a true Crusader.

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Haley Hart, the Crusader