Freshman Phenom

Isaac Gomez, Sports Editor

All sports take teamwork and dedication to succeed.
But so does parenting, and for Cedar Rapids Washington freshman Hannah Stuelke her parents are the most influential and important people in her life.
Stuelke grew up playing basketball at an early age, introduced to her by her father.
“I started out really young so it has always been a part of me,” she said.
Stuelke’s mom also played a huge role in her life.
“My biggest influence growing up was my mom because she was always there for me and she helped me with everything,” Stuelke said.
It’s important to have a strong and healthy relationship with family. Stuelke thanks her parents for the person and player she is today.
“Both of my parents push me really hard to be my best in every aspect of my life,” she said. “Whether it’s basketball, school or my social life.”
Stuelke said basketball is something she truly enjoys. She loves the intensely close games and the adrenaline that comes with it.
Stuelke made a name for herself at Washington, earning a spot on the varsity roster and playing in all 22 games. She led the Warriors, who finished the season 16-6, with 16.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game,
“Hannah brings a lot of positive energy to the team,” assistant coach Joel Decker said during the season. “In practice, she is always competing and when she isn’t in the game she is often one of the biggest cheerleaders from the bench.”

The coaching staff had heard about Stuelke for a couple of years before she arrived, and definitely liked what they saw in her rookie season. They even pegged her a varsity player before the season began.
“This past summer I found out that I was going to be on varsity, which was a surprise to me being a freshman and all,” she said. “I was a little nervous but I knew some of the girls on the team so it wasn’t as bad.”
Stuelke enjoyed her season on the varsity squad.
“Playing with this team is so amazing,” she said. “Everyone just gets along so well and it makes it really fun. It’s really fun having a good team that plays together and wins.”
With interest from Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota already, Stuelke wants to work harder and become an elite player. She understands the importance of staying on track.
“It is very hard to stay humble and not get a big head but I always think that if I stop working hard then I can’t go to the places I really want to go,” she said.
Having people who want the best for you — and who want you to make smart, wise decisions — are necessities when it comes to the big college decisions. Decker is aware of the colleges, and offers wise advice to the young forward/guard.
“My advice is for her to listen to the advice of those closest to her but ultimately go with what she feels is the best situation for her,” he said.
Stuelke has a bright future, but she will continue to be a humble player and work hard everyday.
“I think I owe my success to my parents, my coaches and my teammates,” she said. “They all push me to be better and have helped me along the way.”