Sealed in writing
MICHIGAN CITY — Surrounded by family, friends, teammates, coaches and administrators, Michigan City senior two-sport star Hannah Noveroske signed her letter of intent to play college basketball at Xavier University on Wednesday.
It was the culmination of a year-plus period that the 6-foot-5 gentle giant described as nothing short of “chaotic.”
“It’s cool to know that I’m already set for college and that I have a next place to go,” Noveroske said after enjoying some food and photos with members of the Wolves community in the gym. “It’s very exciting.”
It hasn’t all been exciting for the 2017 All-State volleyball middle hitter and Core Group member of the Indiana Girls All-Star basketball team. L ast spring, Noveroske tore the ACL in her right knee during an AAU practice, leaving all kinds of doubt over her senior seasons in both sports. She missed all of the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star basketball games over the summer, but remained in her usual high spirits as she attacked rehab with the main goal of returning for volleyball season, or at least some of it.
“The support I got from all of my coaches, my parents, my family members ... pretty much everyone I talked to told me, ‘Hey, you can push through this. Therapy’s going to be tough, but you have to push through it to get to where you need to be,’” Noveroske said. “Everyone had my back and knew I could come back for volleyball. They just didn’t know when.”
Noveroske returned during a tournament that City hosted in the latter portion of the season with a new custom knee brace and helped spark the Wolves to another sectional title and a regional final appearance for the second straight year.
“There were some days where I had some ups and downs,” Noveroske said. “There was the time I had patellar tendinitis and had to sit out a week. All I could think of was, ‘Great, this is another week I have to sit out and miss volleyball that I could’ve played.’ Things happen for a reason. I did what I had to. I iced it. I wanted to get back and get stronger. I knew I just had to get through it because that end goal was in sight for me. I just wanted to get back.”
Noveroske was congratulated by all kinds of people on Wednesday, and along with her parents Joan and Doug, were joined by City girls basketball coach Mike Megyese and T.R. Harlan as she signed her letter.
“She works really hard,” Joan Noveroske said. “That’s the big thing about her. She’s always working hard. Just because she tore her ACL didn’t mean she wasn’t ready to get back. She wanted to play both sports. She’s dedicated and you can’t keep a little girl down when she’s motivated. We did everything we could ... rehab, the right tools ... we did all of it for her and she took it and ran. We’re so proud.”
Each of Noveroske’s coaches hammered home three topics: the impact of Noveroske on their teams, her parents and their support of her and their teams, and the impact Noveroske has had on the Michigan City community as a whole.
“(When she came in from Notre Dame grade school), we knew we had a special kid and a special player,” Megyese said. “What she’s done on and off the court for Michigan City High School in general speaks volumes. She’s well-respected by her teachers. She’s a great student. You’re around her enough, you can see what she means to everybody that steps through those doors here at Michigan City.”
“I think she’ll easily go down as one of the best athletes to ever come through Michigan City High School,” Harlan added. “To be an All-State-caliber player in two major sports ... I think that’s only a surprise for the people that aren’t around her. You see her size and her strength, but you forget just how athletic she is and how hard she works. I go back to where she came back six months after tearing her ACL to play in the state tournament when quite honestly, she had no reason to. She’s going to play basketball. She had no reason to play volleyball, but she did, and I think that shows what kind of person she is.”
Noveroske’s career with continue on with basketball over the next few months and although her time at City is coming to an end, she’s more than grateful for her time as a Wolf.
“It’s been a fun ride,” Noveroske said, reminiscing on her previous three years at City and the comeback from the injury. “I knew I wanted to come back for volleyball for that team and for the team experience. I wanted to live my senior year out to the fullest. My life has just been crazy since the ACL injury [laughs], but today was like, ‘OK, I know where I’m going now,’ and I know I’m going to get better and improve everyday.”
Reach Michael Whitlow at email@example.com or (219) 214-4169. Follow him on Twitter @couldbelikemike.