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Sports and Active Life

December 14, 2012

All-American Ayers attributes success to team Sophomore JesEllie Cole sie Ayers Staff Writer left class recently after receiving two text messages and a missed called from her soccer coaches. She thought she was in trouble. She didn’t know that they were trying to tell her that she had been named AllAmerican, an honor awarded to only 32 Division I soccer players in the country. Women’s soccer head coach Geoff Bennett said that this award is a big deal for an athlete at any age and level. And with 18 points this season, Ayers has staked her claim as one of the NCAA’s elite athletes. “She is super competitive. She may be humble and quiet, but she loves to score and win,” Bennett said. “With every goal, comes an aggressive �ist pump.” Ayers may be competitive, but credits her success to her team. “I was completely caught off guard by the award,” Ayers said. “It’s extremely rewarding to receive this kind of recognition. It’s really a testament to the things we accomplished as a team this year—winning conference and going to the NCAA tournament.”

Not bad for a girl who �irst said she wanted to be a baseball player. She even used to collect baseball cards and still has a trunk full of them at home. “I heard a story about a family �inding old cards in their attic that turned out to be worth a fortune,” Ayers said. “I’ve got my �ingers crossed.” Lucky for CC, though, she chose soccer. Her �irst soccer team was called the Geckos, which was a group of girls from her elementary school. “I knew some of them, but I was shy and had never played before so I was terri�ied of joining the team,” Ayers said. “My dad had to drag me out of the car and onto the �ield for my �irst practice. If it had been up to me, I would have never left the back seat of our Subaru. He’s been my inspiration ever since.” Her inspiration brought her through a successful high school career in Seattle, Wash. Ayers was a two-time, �irst-team, All-King County selection at Seattle’s Roosevelt High School, according to the CC athletics website. Ayers picked CC as the place to develop her athletic and academic careers because of the school’s environment, the location of Colorado, and the team. Bennett was drawn to Jessie as a play-

er because of her aggression and her attacking-oriented mentality. “Jessie is very good on the dribble and at taking players on 1v1. We love her tenacity in the �inal third of the �ield,” he said. “Those types of players don’t come along very often.” Bennett described her as an unassuming and quiet person who doesn’t like to bring attention to herself, but who is also a player that everyone notices. Bennett said that they had a great, fun season, and that Ayers would be the �irst to tell anyone that she won this award because of her team. He said he hopes to see Ayers continue to grow as an athlete, student and a person. “If she continues to do things the right way, and with a strict work ethic, then she will reach all of her goals,” Bennett said. “I feel the same about our team. The players want to return to the NCAA’s and win some games Jessie Ayers. Photo by Veronica Spann once there... they are driven and motivated to succeed, which makes our “We all want to win conference USA staff very happy.” again, and now that we’ve had a taste of Ayers said that her hopes for herself the NCAA tournament, we want more,” and her team are synonymous. she said.

H a n n a “Hoops” Katy Stetson HoopinStaff Writer garner was excelling in her junior season. She was playing so well that head coach Liz Doran moved her to the starting line up. Thirty-seven seconds into her �irst starting game of the 2011 season, Hoopingarner tore her right ACL, effectively ending her junior season. When Hoopingarner tore her ACL, there was no certainty as to whether she would ever contribute to the team again. She came to Colorado College with hopes to play basketball, and had the expectation of playing a full four years of collegiate ball. Now, however, she contributes in other ways in her student coaching position. “Hanna was always one of our hardest working kids. When she was an underclassman, we would put her in whenever we needed a burst of energy and she’d make something happen on the defensive end. By her junior season she was playing the best all around basketball of her career on both the offensive and defensive end,” head coach Liz Doran said. Hoopingarner quickly underwent the reconstruction surgery on Jan. 1, 2012 with the hopes of playing her senior season. “I did all my rehab and recovery, but in the middle of June, I took a weird spill down the stairs. Originally I thought I just tore my right meniscus, but when I went in for surgery in Aug., they found that I’d partially re-torn my ACL. I was supposed to just have my meniscus stitched, but after they discovered the partial tear, they did the meniscus repair and another ACL reconstruction.” Hoopingarner said. Had Hoopingarner only had a meniscus tear, she would have been able to recover in time to play this season. “Before I went into surgery, I thought I’d be able to play by Dec. or Jan., but after I woke up I knew I wouldn’t be able to play because the recovery was going

to be seven to nine months,” Hoopingarner said. “My reaction after waking up wasn’t good. First of all, I woke up in a lot [of unexpected] pain, and second, I realized basketball had been taken away from me.” Though she does not have an of�icial title, she has taken on three key responsibilities that are central to team practices. On a weekly basis, Hoopingarner is responsible for recruiting practice players, as the team only has nine players on the roster. This task requires contacting individuals who like to play and may want to practice with the team. She has also taken on the duty of leading pre-practice warm ups for the girls, and cooling them down at the end of practice. “Giving her a couple pieces of practice that are exclusively hers has really proven to be ideal,” Doran said. “Having her on the sidelines has been a great addition. As a former teammate for most of these kids, she can talk to them as more of a peer than any of the coaches can. When she says, ‘pick it up,’ or makes a suggestion [regarding defense] or how someone should get open, she has a lot of credibility because she’s been there, done that, and been a liaison between the team and the coaches.” Although her situation isn’t ideal, Hoopingarner feels good about where she stands. “So far I think it’s really going well. I still get to be around the team, but it’s allowed me the freedom to take on a few more things than I’m used to. I’m grateful that I’m just as much a part of this world as I was before. It’s a strong, small group, and I think I’ve found a good niche among the staff in which I can participate in all activities,” Hoopingarner said. Hoopingarner is focused on staying connected to the team and remaining part of the program that has been central to her Colorado College experience. Her effort and presence have not gone unnoticed: “She’s incredibly important to the

team,” senior teammate Marissa Gradoz said. “Even though she’s not playing, which we know is hard for her, each


Despite ACL tear, player refuses to walk away W. BASKETBALL

and every one of us needs her around as much as she can be. She’s a huge part of what we are.”

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