First Year Hawks Volleyball High Achievers

All photos by CAV photography

The Hawks Volleyball Program welcomed six fresh faces to the team this year: sophomores Cierra Hampton and Seaira Updyke, and first year student athletes Micah Clark, Lauryn Hardy, Ellie MacDonald and Briana Ward. Hardy, MacDonald and Ward were accepted into the Henry Ford II Honors Program. The Hawks Volleyball Team will compete in their final home game on Tuesday, Oct. 26, against Schoolcraft College.

Briana Ward photo by CAV Photography
Briana Ward
My name is Briana Ward and I am a first year student athlete at Henry Ford College. I am enrolled in the Honors Program and play on the Volleyball and Women’s Basketball team. I have been an athlete for as long as I can remember. I started playing basketball for a recreational team when I was 5 years old and haven’t stopped playing since. My family is originally from River Rouge, Michigan, but we did a lot of moving while I was growing up. I attended Monroe Elementary from Kindergarten-4th grade, then moved to Summit Academy in 5th grade and stayed until 7th grade. In 8th grade, I moved to Lincoln Park Middle school, where I later attended Lincoln Park High School and graduated with a 3.75 overall GPA. At Lincoln Park, I was a dual athlete, playing both basketball and volleyball. All four years of high school, I was always double sporting. When it was volleyball season, I would have AAU basketball and vice versa. I did both sports while also maintaining my good grades. My junior year of high school, I decided that I wanted to take sports further and play in college. Junior year is a little late to start the college journey but I still did it anyway. Volleyball and basketball had always been equal to me so the fact that I had to choose one over the other to focus more on was super heartbreaking. After my senior year volleyball season, I had decided I wanted to pursue volleyball in college. I was set on this decision until I had a phenomenal senior season of basketball and college coaches came rolling in. This is where my journey at Henry Ford College started. I ended up getting a dual full scholarship to HFC for volleyball and basketball. Once I realized I was able to pursue both, I was more than excited. After chatting with my volleyball coach, she thought that the Honors Program would be a good fit for me considering my academics in high school. After my two years at HFC, I hope to go to a university to play either basketball or volleyball and pursue a degree in business.

Ellie MacDonald photo by CAV Photography
Ellie MacDonald
My name is Ellie MacDonald and I am from Freeland, MI. I was a three-sport athlete at Swan Valley High School, playing volleyball, basketball, and softball. I was also a part of the National Honor Society, the yearbook committee, and Students Against Drunk Driving. I come from a family of four and have two dogs. I am part Italian, Polish, German, and Irish. I was introduced to sports at a young age. My dad was a three-sport athlete and had offers to play hockey in Canada as well as offers to play college baseball. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to continue his career due to a knee injury his senior year of high school. My athletic ability and interests developed from him. One of my aspirations as a student-athlete is to excel in my academics and transfer to another school on a volleyball scholarship to finish what my dad couldn’t. After getting a degree in Pediatric Occupational Therapy, I want to move to Tennessee and work at an occupational therapy center to help specialized children. I learned about Henry Ford College my freshman year of high school because HFC’s recruiter came to one of my travel volleyball tournaments and handed me his card. Then, last year, I was recruited to play volleyball for Henry Ford College a second time by the new head coach, and I accepted the offer. After I enrolled at HFC, my coach informed me about the Henry Ford II Honors Program and the amazing opportunities it brought, such as scholarships and more transfer opportunities. The volleyball team has great chemistry and potential, but something isn’t clicking for some reason. Next year, however, I am excited to return to a new start with my three other freshmen teammates and hopefully will have an amazing season. After HFC, I am thinking about transferring to Grand Valley State University or Western Michigan University. I hope to be recruited to continue my athletic career.

Lauryn Hardy photo by CAV Photography
Lauryn Hardy
My name is Lauryn Hardy, and I am 18 years old. I graduated from John Glenn High School, and I have been playing sports since middle school. Throughout middle and high school, I have played volleyball and basketball and I’ve run track. In high school, I enjoyed volleyball and basketball equally. Once I got on the varsity team, my love for the sport of basketball decreased tremendously. Ever since, volleyball has stolen my heart. I knew I wanted to play in college, but I did not know how to put myself out there. Luckily, at my last high school volleyball game, my senior year, a coach from Madonna University wanted to give me an offer. I was very excited and felt relieved knowing that I had a place that I can potentially call home. I visited the school, everything went well, but financially I wanted to go the cheapest route for my family. I happened to see my old club volleyball coach, Coach Shannon, was the head coach for Henry Ford, and I told her about my situation. After conversing with her and sending some film, she ended up offering me a spot. Coach Shannon introduced the Honor’s program to me and explained how it would take care of everything. I decided to continue my education at Henry Ford and play volleyball here. Even though we have had a rough season with communication and playing together as a team., it is a process that has been making small improvements. I am still glad I chose this pathway. Going to Henry Ford has been a great transition from high school to college. The Honors Program has helped me so much. The staff are so welcoming, understanding, and easy to talk to. My time management skills have also improved a lot as well. The main struggle for me would be meeting new people. Most of my classes are in person except one, but it is still difficult to meet others due to everything not being completely open yet and a lot of classes remaining online. Regardless of my struggles, I will still just push through towards my goals of getting my associate degree in Psychology, improving in volleyball to continue playing, building new friendships, and preparing myself for life after college.