Athlete Profile: Hannah Benes
September 27, 2021
High school sports are often the pinnacle for teenage athletes. Only those truly dedicated and passionate for the sport are able to press on and join the ranks of a college sports team. For senior Hannah Benes, her entire life has been dedicated to volleyball. In the end, her resilience has paid off as she has committed to the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, an NCAA Division II university in Rapid City, South Dakota.
“All my life I’ve wanted to play college volleyball, and now that I have the chance it just seems so surreal,” senior libero Hannah Benes said. “It just seems like everything I’ve worked for has finally paid off.”
Benes’ passion for the sport has not only brought herself this far but has rubbed off on plenty of those around her.
“I used to play volleyball with Hannah, but I never got into it as much as she did,” senior Sarah Benes said. “Growing up I always looked up to Hannah and I think seeing her passion for the sport is what drove me to become as good as I am at cross country. I know the two sports don’t have a lot in common, but I think that just seeing Hannah’s drive to get better is what has made me who I am today.”
The impact that Benes has had is not only seen within her family members. As a four-year varsity player, Benes has made an impact on plenty of Sequoits both older and younger than her.
“I know a lot of people that look up to Hannah as an athlete,” senior Ana Marcell said. “Even in the past few years, she’s shown people older than her certain areas that they can work on or talked with others about certain plays. She’s probably one of the only people I’ve seen that has had this big of an impact on the team as a whole.”
Playing from such a young age, Benes has learned many different things from many different people, especially through her years playing club volleyball, showing just how far the reach of her impact is.
“Hannah has set the perfect example for the younger players,” senior Kylie Buehlman said. “Seeing her play on varsity ever since she was a sophomore has definitely had an impact on all of us, and I really think the team has gotten better as a whole because of it.”
As Benes looks on to bigger and better things, her legacy at Antioch will not be forgotten. With the amount of players she has impacted, lessons and examples that she has set will not soon be forgotten.
“Hannah is definitely the most dedicated and passionate player on the team,” senior Avery Larson said. “She’s involved in everything we do, both on and off the court. Whether it is a team dinner or a meetup before a big game, she’s always there. That’s all on top of the positive reinforcement she gives us during play, and I think I’ve become a much better player with her help.”
As the years have gone on, Benes has taken up noticeable leadership roles on the team. Outside of volleyball, she has quickly become an active member in other areas of her community, however. Throughout National Honor Society, National Math Honor Society and other groups that she has played a major role in, Benes is a strong contributor to the community and believes it is this very connection that has allowed her to care so deeply for her play and those around her as a whole.
“Playing for a high school team was a big change from playing club or in middle school,” Benes said. “There are always so many people there to cheer you on, and it seems like the whole school always has your back.”
With the dedication and energy that Benes has brought to the team, there is no doubt in many of her teammates’ minds that she will perform exceptionally well throughout college.
“I think if someone was to ask me, or anyone on the team for that matter, who truly deserves to play college volleyball, everyone would answer Hannah,” senior Lianna Corley said. “With the energy that she brings to both practices and games and just the willingness she has to improve at any chance that she gets, there is no doubt in my mind that college volleyball is where she belongs.”
Benes knows that her higher education is still very important, and is excited about finding a good balance between her course workload and volleyball.
“I know it’s going to be a lot, but I think I can manage,” Benes said. “It’s going to be a lot different than managing the balance between high school and sports, but I think that’s all a part of the fun. All of these new opportunities are going to lead me somewhere that I’ve never seen before, where I’ll get the chance to do something that I’ve never done before. In college, I think that’s what I’m really looking forward to.”
As Benes continues her volleyball career, Benes is excited to see what it will offer, even long after her college experience is over. Regardless of the amount of time she spends playing the sport in the future, it is guaranteed that those she has impacted are better people because of it.