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Vernon Panthers teammates ink college deals in different sports

Maddy Hackman to play basketball in U.S.; Lauren Hoard joining Canadian volleyball champs
Vernon Panthers senior girls basketball stars Maddy Hackman (left) and Lauren Hoard will continue their athletic careers after graduation. Hackman has committed to play basketball at Goldey-Beacom College in Delaware, and Hoard will play volleyball in Nanaimo for hte Vancouver Island University Mariners. (Contributed)

They’re currently high school basketball teammates, hoping to help their team continue its amazing run of provincial championship tournaments reached.

One will carry on with basketball after graduation about as far away from home as possible.

One will carry on with another sport in a city she was born in.

Lauren Hoard and Maddy Hackman, both 17 and in Grade 12 at Vernon Secondary, are trying to help the Panthers reach the provincial AAA senior girls championships for an incredible 18th straight year come March 2023.

After that, Hackman will head east to continue playing basketball, while Hoard heads south to pursue a university volleyball career.

Hackman has committed to the NCAA Div. II Goldey-Beacom College Lightning women’s program in Wilmington, Delaware.

“I filled out a recruitment form because I knew I wanted to play at a higher level, and Goldey-Beacom was the best option I had,” said Hackman, who will study psychology with the hopes of becoming a sports psychologist. “I got a hold of the coach and she asked for some game film highlights. I sent some to her and she followed up with me.”

A 5-foot-11 centre/power forward, Hackman began playing basketball in Grade 5 at Hillview Elementary under the tutelage of coach Joel Brazier. She also plays club basketball and, this past summer, travelled with Surrey-based Athelite Basketball to tournaments in the U.S. basketball meccas of Kentucky and Florida.

“The competition was really tough,” said Hackman. “I was the tallest player on my team and I was guarding players that were 6-foot-3 and strong. But I felt I held my own.”

Hackman loves basketball’s competitiveness, teamwork and travel.

“The best part is being part of the sisterhood of a team,” she said.

Hackman’s dad, Tim, from Vernon, was a Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball draft selection. He attended Junior College at Indian Hills in Iowa then got a NCAA Div. I scholarship to Florida International University.

Hoard, meanwhile, will be heading to Nanaimo to join the four-time Canadian College Athletic Association champion Vancouver Island University Mariners.

The 6-foot-1 outside hitter/middle blocker emailed some universities about playing, and had a family connection help out.

“My dad (Cory) communicated with the coach (Shane Hyde), and we ended up talking and talking,” said Hoard of her decision to head to the Island. “I was born in Nanaimo and have always wanted to move back.”

Hoard started playing volleyball at B.X. Elementary, carried on into five years of the sport at VSS. She also played club volleyball with the Vernon Firehawks.

A multi-sport athlete who also excels on the basketball court, Hoard is aiming to study science and criminology at VIU.

“I am interested in attending and playing for VIU because of the great volleyball program that it offers, the winning tradition it is known for, and the well respected schooling program I am pursuing,” said Hoard, who had a chance to workout with the Mariners under the eyes of the head coach.

“Coach Hyde and the team were so welcoming when I visited and practiced with them, which meant so much to me.”

Hoard played for Team B.C.’s U17 squad this summer and competed in the Canada Cup in Calgary. Her club team, the Firehawks, won gold at the 2022 Volleyball BC U17 Girls provincial championship.

Hackman and Hoard said thanks to all of their teammates, coaches and their families for helping them pursue their post-secondary aspirations.

• Hoard, meanwhile, will be joined in Nanaimo by Kalamalka Lakers standout Aimee Skinner, recently named MVP of the 2022 B.C. Senior Girls AA Volleyball Championships, which the Lakers won in Merritt.

A teammate of Hoard’s on the Firehawks and the MVP of the 2022 provincial club championship, Skinner is also an excellent hockey player but will bring her considerable volleyball talents to the forefront when graduating from the Lakers to the Mariners.

“I am very excited to be attending and playing volleyball at VIU because the school provides a great kinesiology program for my future and Shane runs a very good volleyball program that has shown great success over the years,” said Skinner to VIU Athletics. “I am also excited to experience Island life.”

READ MORE: Titans topple Vernon Panthers in Langley hoops final

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Vernon volleyball team golden at provincials

READ MORE: Coldstream’s Kalamalka Lakers best in B.C.

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Aimee Skinner of the B.C. High School Senior Girls AA Volleyball champion Kalamalka Lakers (11) will continue her career at the post-secondary level, committing to the Vancouver Island University Mariners of Nanaimo. Skinner was the MVP of the provincial high school girls championships. (Morning Star - file photo)

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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