WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS, YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE MOST OF IT.
Bailey Hanner did just that back in the eighth grade. After her season wrapped up for her Skyline club team, Hanner got the call-up to the first team that had earned a trip to Nationals. "I was on the second team for my age group," she said. "At the end of our regular season, the top team asked me to travel to Nationals. The competition was eyeopening."
"It was after our warm-ups when I saw a college coach hand my coach his card," she said. "They asked him to give it to me. It was from Duke. I realized right then that this sport was going to take me somewhere."
The quiet Hanner is always being pushed out of her comfort zone. "I tried basketball when I was younger," she said. "It was too violent. I found out really quick that I don't like contact sports. My parents put me in volleyball and I hated it. I wanted to go home. But I was kind of a natural and just stayed with it."
Upon entering high school at FBCA, Hanner was moved up to varsity immediately. "It was kind of scary," she laughed. "We had 11 seniors and it was intimidating at first. But looking back, it's been the most fun I've ever had playing volleyball. It challenged me."
This season as a sophomore, she had to get uncomfortable again.
"I have a quiet personality," she said. "I was the only returning varsity player. Coach pulled me aside and just told me I had to lead this team. It was awkward at first, but I really worked on it. I thought I really stepped up in that department."
Her play earned her first-team, all-district and honorable mention, all-state honors.
"Next year I have higher goals," she said. "I want to have over 600 kills and be first-team, all-state. I want to lead our team deep into the playoffs."
As her resume continues to grow, so does the list of colleges who are interested in her services. June 15th was the first day college coaches can officially offer athletes entering their junior season. "I had been waiting for that day for a long time," she said. "I really like Rice, Wake Forest and Maryland so far. They have shown me a lot of interest and I've started to build a relationship with their coaches."
While she is just a sophomore, she is also starting to look to the future. "I'm hearing there could be a professional volleyball league starting up in the US, so that interests me," she said. "I know I have an engineering mind, so that could also be a career."
For now, Hanner hangs out with her best friends from volleyball, watches Netflix, works on her game and dives into her other hobbies. "I love to do art," she said. "I draw and paint just whatever inspires me at the moment. I also love photography and doing travel videos with my GoPro." Who knows where that may take her, but Hanner knows how to make the most of an opportunity.