Editor’s Note: The Daily Times has released part six of an an eight-part series discussing the accomplishments and future plans of Southeast Ohio District Athletic Board and OHSAA scholarship winners Makayla Akers, Alek Blevins, Taylor Doerr, Cole Gilliland, T.J. Hoggard, Drew Lowe, Nathan Riehl, and Hagen Schaefer. Blevins, Gilliland, Hoggard, Riehl, and Lowe have been featured and Schaefer will be featured here in part six.
When life hands out the varying amounts of highs and lows that it tends to hand out, it’s always important to ultimately keep a positive attitude at the end of the day — because that said attitude could be the difference in what you accomplish in life.
With an infectious smile that seems to always be showing no matter what the occasion is, former Notre Dame three-sport standout and current Shawnee State University women’s basketball hand Hagen Schaefer used that positive attitude to accomplish a great deal of accolades, both on the field and in the classroom.
Schaefer’s persistence in both of those areas allowed the senior standout to accomplish what only two other Scioto County individuals have done as the baseball, basketball, and volleyball standout was awarded with a $1,000 OHSAA Scholar-Athlete Scholarship.
Not surprisingly, accomplishing a feat that only six student-athletes from the entire Southeast District obtained is something that is elating to Schaefer, especially considering the kind of student-athletes that were bestowed with academic accolades.
“I honestly felt honored to be a part of the recognition,” Schaefer said. “To know that people even considered me to be honored with some of the best student-athletes is, I believe, something to be proud of. Again, that’s where I can see where all of that hard work paid off.”
Over the course of her athletic career at Notre Dame, Schaefer’s hard work showed on the field of play as the three-sport dynamo proved to be a heavy contributor in more ways than one in every sport that she took part in for the Titans.
During the final three years of her volleyball career, Schaefer put together a hitting percentage of .300 or above while playing stellar volleyball on both the front and back lines, amassing 1,515 assists, 436 digs, 252 kills, 215 aces, and 64 blocks over her last three seasons for a unit that went an amazing 51-4 in SOC I play en route to two Division IV District Championships (2014, 2016) and an overall record of 86-16 during her four-year career. The 5-11 standout then used her rangy outfielding abilities and overall hitting prowess in the middle of the order to lead Notre Dame to a Division IV Regional Final in 2014 and a Division IV District Final in 2015 while also obtaining All-District honors this past year.
However, Schaefer’s efforts on the basketball court were what really got most people’s attention around the area. After an impressive freshman season that saw Schaefer average 11.1 points per game for a perennial top-three team in the SOC I realm, a broken pinky finger limited her to just 14 games in her sophomore campaign.
But through perseverance, Schaefer battled through, and as a result, became one of the best two-way players in the entire area.
This was proven in her junior and senior campaigns, when the multi-positional 5-7 athlete collected 18.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.9 steals per game in her junior year and 16 points, 4.5 rebounds, and two steals per contest — all while shooting well over 40 percent from the floor — en route to First-Team All-Southeast District accolades and All-Ohio honors in both seasons. Notre Dame went 44-6 and collected back-to-back undefeated seasons in the SOC I realm en route to Division IV District Final appearances in both years.
So it makes it all the more impressive when the standout student-athlete — who helped lead the Titans to more than 150 wins across all three sports — credits her coaches and teammates for the entire experience.
“My coaches have taught me how to become a better leader, to lead by example, and to be someone that the younger girls look up to and want to model,” Schaefer said. “They taught me that I can do anything that I set my mind to. They have also taught me that not everything in life will come easy and that you will have to work for the things that you want. My teammates have been my family for the last four years. We have been through the good times and the bad times and we’ve been through the wins and losses. However, they have showed me that we can get through anything if we are all on the same page and have one goal in mind.”
And according to Schaefer, having those same goals are what have allowed Notre Dame to enjoy the successes that they’ve enjoyed over the past four years.
“We all held each other accountable by pushing each other to be our best,” Schaefer said. “I believe that’s why we have been so successful these past four years, because we all have a desire to win, be our best and push each other to reach that goal.”
However, it’s also obvious that Schaefer has pushed herself to reach her own set of standards and goals.
In addition to balancing three sports, the star student-athlete proved that the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree from a work ethic standpoint, as she served as the school’s secretaries for the National Honor Society, the Key Club, and the NDHS Senior Class of 2017 while also serving as a member of Notre Dame’s Mass choir and the Notre Dame Ohio Model United Nations. To top it all off, the popular and fun-loving individual served as the Titans’ Key Club president, was named Homecoming Queen by the school, and won the Scioto Foundation’s Floyd-Holsinger Scholarship en route to capping off a highly successful career as a student-athlete.
“Notre Dame has given me and has taught me many things,” Schaefer said. “It has given me several service opportunities out in our community, and from that, I really gained a love for helping people. Notre Dame has also helped me maintain a strong faith throughout my time there. I am constantly reminded of God’s love for all of us, not just by words but also through the actions of the faculty and students. Their leading by example has definitely impacted my life in the best way. All of our teachers at Notre Dame have pushed us to be our best. Since it is a very small school, there are obviously fewer students in the classroom. We are able to get more of a one-on-one experience with our teachers, and they are always willing to work with us at anytime of the day if we need any extra help or anything. Just like our parents and coaches, they expect nothing less of us than our best, and push us to give them just that.”
With her high school career in the books, Schaefer will look to transfer her hard work right over into the college ranks, where she’ll not only major in early childhood intervention, but attempt to make her presence felt on the basketball court for Shawnee State — just like her aunt did for three full decades before retiring in 2013.
“It’s a whole new ballgame going into college,” Schaefer said. “I will have to find that balance and time management between basketball and my academics once again. So that will keep me pretty busy. However, having family that has coached is really neat because you can go to them for advice and they’re always right at hand when you need them. I’ve always looked up to them and have taken mental notes on their coaching styles. That’s definitely something that I want to model.”
However, it’s clear that Hagen Schaefer has already built a strong model that will help her make an impact — whether it’s in coaching, teaching, or both — for years to come.
“I learned the importance of time management between sports, academics, and other extracurricular activities and trying to find the perfect balance between all of those,” Schaefer said of her experience as a student-athlete at Notre Dame. “I also learned to be more responsible on and off of the court, and not just in big ways but things as simple as always turning homework on time and always being at least 15 minutes early for practice.”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7