By: Meaghan Mcnichol – Staff Writer
Campus welcomes us back with a new year, new schedule and a lot of snow. But classes and the weather aren’t the only thing senior volleyball player Isolde Hannan has to adapt to this semester.
After playing for the University of Dayton women’s volleyball team all four years at the university, Hannan has decided to switch her focus to track and field for her final semester, beginning as the third member of the university women’s high jump team.
Hannan is the first two-sport athlete at UD since Drew Fumagalli played baseball and football in 2010.
Volleyball has been Hannan’s passion since the fifth grade when she first picked it up but had tremendous success as a high jumper her senior year at Dublin Coffman High School.
Although this is the first year Hannan will participate on the track team, high jump coach Jason Francis has admired her talent since she was a first-year.
Francis knew about her from training in the weight room at the same time as volleyball and quickly learned of her high jump success.
In Hannan’s senior year of high school she won a Division I regional title in high jump and finished the season ranked seventh in Ohio for the event.
“I would drop some hints seeing her in the weight rooms, in the halls or in the training room just telling her, ‘You know when you’re done with volleyball you still have another semester of school and you could do track,’” Francis said, “and that’s kind of where we’re at today.”
After the women’s volleyball NCAA tournament ended and the season was over, Hannan shifted her focus to high jump.
While the two sports are completely different, Hannan believes the skills she’s acquired from volleyball over the years will help her pick up where she left off with high jump.
“A lot of the general training I’ve done with volleyball for jumping and just technique and athletic ability will help me transition over to track. It’s really just taking a couple of key things that I’ve worked on and learned through volleyball and figuring out how to relate that to high jump,” Hannan said.
One characteristic the two sports share is jumping. Although the goal may be different, this aspect of volleyball will help Hannan during her transition to high jump.
“There’s actually a particular attack in volleyball called a slide, and you run it off of one foot in a similar pattern you would with high jump. So the footwork’s similar, which will be an easy transition,” Hannan said.
Although Hannan is not concerned about the footwork, she acknowledges the challenges she will face with her change in season.
After spending four seasons playing on a court with five other girls and a team full of opponents, Hannan admits that high jump, where her biggest opponent is a bar, will be different.
“High jump is really more dependent on you performing rather than you performing with your team,” Hannan said.
Despite the differences, Francis has no doubt she will adapt quickly. He believes her four years on the volleyball team will work in her favor.
“She’s a lot stronger than she was and a lot more explosive and powerful now as a senior in college, so that’s definitely going to play a big factor in helping her high jump technique,” Francis said.
As Francis enters his fourth season as the high jump coach, he has set big expectations.
He’s hopeful for a national championship and expects the best of his athletes, wanting them to finish each meet on the podium.
Despite this being Hannan’s first season jumping for him, he expects an endless amount of competitive spirit.
With seven weeks left before the indoor conference, five months until the outdoor conference and six months before the national meet, Francis and Hannan will be working hard in order to prepare her for success.
While Hannan still plans to stay involved with the volleyball team, pursue her degree in computer engineering and continue participating in the fantasy and fiction appreciation club and Athlete Ally, she will also be tackling Division I high jump head on.
Between her determination and work ethic, Francis is confident she will succeed.
“She’s an outstanding athlete and she’ll adapt pretty quickly,” Francis said.