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The La Grande Observer 12/15/14

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Home arrow Sports arrow PREP arrow Hulse has high hopes

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Hulse has high hopes

Cove senior makes U.S. High Performance team

When Hannah Hulse tried out for the USA High Performance Volleyball teams, she was just hopeful to get a few looks from college coaches.

Instead, she earned a place amongst the top volleyball players in the country. 

Hulse, who will begin her senior year at Cove this fall, tried out in Spokane, Wash., on March 27 and Portland on April 25 for placement on the USA High Performance teams, an extensive training program under the USA Volleyball umbrella.

“I didn’t really think I was going to make the team, to be 100 percent honest,” Hulse said. “The chances of actually making them were really small. So I was just going there for the college opportunity, because there’s college coaches at the tryouts. I thought, ‘That’d be cool if I made it.’”

When the time came to perform, Hulse surprised herself. After getting selected, Hulse was one of 96 girls out of a possible pool of more than 3,000 athletes chosen from her age group to compete in four groups in the Indoor National High Performance Programs this summer. She made the National Junior A3 squad as a setter, with a wait-list invitation for the tougher A2 team.

Hulse’s feat was all the more impressive since she competed in the two four-hour tryouts on a broken foot, for which she still is on crutches.

“I had taken an X-ray, and I guess because of where it was in the foot, they couldn’t tell it was broken,” she said. “I had an MRI on it about two months after the second tryout because I couldn’t take it anymore. Then they saw it was broken. They think it started as a stress fracture.”

Hulse is hopeful that the break will heal up in time for the High Performance group training program in Colorado Springs, Colo., from July 11-15, at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. In order to get healthy, Hulse needed a little parental guidance to increase the chances of her foot being mended in time.

“I got grounded from the gym,” Hulse said. “My mom was like you can’t be on it. But she said if its not totally healed you can still go. I feel like it’s going to be weak, but if I played with it before I can play with it then.”

If she does make it on the A2 team, she will be out there for training, which (begins) is a week before the A3 at the same complex. Hulse and the rest of A3 will be divided into four teams and go through matches, rigorous exercises and instructions from college coaches hired by the USA volleyball program.

“We’ll be staying in the dorms there with about five other girls, and we’ll go through different things about leadership and sportsmanship as well,” Hulse said.

Hulse said her primary goal is to catch the eyes of numerous college coaches and receive scholarship offers. She said once they accept the invitation her information is sent out to colleges all over the country, with the dividends paying off already. 

Just this week she received an email from a Division II school in North Dakota. Hulse has her sights set on a specific area, ideally, but is open to any institution where she can roam the nets.

“I won’t go to a college I can’t play at,” Hulse said. “I love the Portland area, so that would be great. But if I’m going to get a full ride to play somewhere like North Dakota, why not. It kind of depends — I just want to see my options.”

For the full story, see Friday's issue of The Observer

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