Within the Hauser Sports Program for 2017-2018, you can find all kinds of interesting stats. Not long ago, I wrote about Jeff Sneed still holding the county record for points scored during a 1973 basketball game, 51.

In the volleyball area, you will find Lauren Gross's name listed twice, once at the very top for total blocks with 439 with the next position belonging to Ashley McDaniel. Lauren is also listed at the very top for total kills at 1,532 with the next position belonging to Breanna Metz. I had the great pleasure of watching each of these young ladies develop their skills due to our daughters having the opportunity to play on the same team with them, Bethany with Ashley and Haley with Lauren and Brea.

Lauren continued her volleyball journey to play for the Ball State Cardinals, a place where many of us recently watched our Hauser Lady Jets compete for the 1A Volleyball State Championship. Lauren eventually transferred to Indiana Wesleyan University where she started her senior year. She had a great season, and her team had a great season! Lauren had 255 kills and 116 total blocks while the Wildcats finished 29-12. That's 41 matches with numerous practice sessions! They finished second in their Crossroads League of 10 teams at 13-3 and won the Crossroads Conference Tourney. Then, they pushed two top-10 teams in the NAIA Volleyball National Championship to 5 sets while beating two other teams in 3 sets.

When Lauren first started playing, I think she would agree that there were some interesting moments while she was learning the game just like for her young teammates. But, she stayed with it year after year to become a powerful force at the net in high school and in college. In fact, she became quite proficient in all of her skills due to her work ethic and excellent coaches.

Lauren and I live in the same area. Often, I would be walking my three miles while she would be running her three when home for the summer. I would struggle while it seemed she could have continued forever. Admittedly, I was quite impressed with how much love for the game she obviously had to commit to running every day as well as completing other exercises.

I don't know what the stat is for athletes to drop out of a sport in college before their senior year but suspect it is somewhat significant. It cannot be easy to be a student and an athlete when you are studying for a career. I can recall our daughters often staying up well beyond midnight after away games in high school to finalize school work, and I would think playing a sport in college must be even more demanding while keeping up with course work. Lauen made it a point to provide a picture which includes all of her senior teammates. I don't think you have to look much beyond that group to figure out why the Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats had a very successful team!

Lauren wants to be a graphic designer. If I was looking for someone in that field, then I would not hesitate to hire her. Student athletes become masters of managing time. And, an athlete that can play a sport for four years must have lots of determination, a word that I happened to incorporate a lot when teaching fifth graders for thirty-six years.

In addition, they go through many ups and downs, often combating injuries as Lauren, while finding a way to get through the downs and continuing to press forward. Undoubtedly, Lauren Gross will help any company with her strong characteristics.

Needless to state, I am quite proud of Lauren. Our community is proud of her. We thank Lauren for all of those great moments at Hauser on the volleyball court as well as on the basketball and tennis court. We wish her the very best wherever the journey leads. And remember, you always have a home in Hope!

Besides, there is a young Hope volleyball player out there wishing to follow in your footsteps!