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Local Medal Winner

Then there are students such as Fremont’s Dana Hansen who is…

By Jon Russell

FREMONT — Some high school students simply go from home to school and count the days until graduation. It seems their sole purpose is just to “get through” those last few years of education.

Then there are students such as Fremont’s Dana Hansen who is the extreme opposite of the student first described. It seems like every waking moment of her high school years is consumed by one high school sport or another.

Dana, who spent the first eight years of her academic life attending White Cloud schools, transferred to Fremont her freshman year.

That’s because she wanted an opportunity to swim in high school and Fremont offered the sport while White Cloud did not.

“It was a tough decision to leave my friends and come here,” said Hansen. “At the same time, I looked forward to attending a larger school and the challenge that offered.”

During her freshman year as a Packer, it seemed like Dana wanted to experience it all. In the fall she not only swam but also played basketball at the same time. While it’s ambitious to participate in athletics in consecutive seasons without a break, it’s almost unheard of to compete in two sports during the same season.

Dana not only competed in both sports at the same time but also was a major factor on both the swim team and the basketball team. There was not much down time during that first fall in Fremont as she put in a full week of practices and competitions for both.

Dana also had to find time to hit the books and keep her grades up.

“It was tiring but it was worth it,” said Dana. “ I loved both sports so much I couldn’t choose.”

While her basketball team competed for a league championship, Dana also qualified for state competition as a swimmer. During the winter she took part in volleyball and during the spring she was on the track team where she missed qualifying for state in the high jump by just a half inch.

As her sophomore year approached, Dana had already made up her mind to cut back just a little.

“It really was too much to compete in both swimming and basketball at the same time,” said Hansen. “I figured that I had a better chance to go to play basketball in college if I devoted my full attention to that.”

It was during her sophomore year that she also made another decision which would affect her athletic career. She decided in the spring to play softball and drop track.

“I was becoming close friends with a group of girls who were playing basketball, volleyball and softball,” said Dana. “ Plus, I had done well in softball when I was playing in the youth leagues.”

As she enters her junior year, Dana has been named either all conference, all area or both in all of the sports she has participated in. She traces her love of sports to her father, brother and her cousin Melissa.

Melissa Hansen was a standout athlete for White Cloud during the early 1990s. She excelled in several sports; however, it was volleyball where she made her major mark. Melissa starred on the volleyball court at Western Michigan University and eventually played professionally in Europe.

“I remember watching all her games,” said Dana. “I was in awe and she really inspired me to become an athlete.”

How does all the extracurricular activity mix with her school work?

“I pull down mostly A’s and B’s and an occasional C,” Dana says with a bit of a sheepish grin. “I really use my study hall to maximum advantage.”

In addition to the demands on her time in playing the various sports, Dana also found that they carry other obligations.

“Each sport I participate in camps and offer instruction to the younger kids,” said Dana. “I usually find myself as in instructor in about every camp there is.”

Far from finding that drudgery, Dana says that the chance to work with young athletes is exhilarating.

“I really enjoy working with them,” said Dana. “I remember when the varsity girls would work with me and how I looked up to them and now it’s coming back full circle.”

Despite the demands on her time, Dana says she doesn’t have any regrets.

“I’ve made some great friends through athletics,” said Dana. “ I just want to experience as much as I possibly can.”

Dana hopes to attend a Division I school such as Michigan or Michigan State and would like to play college sports, especially basketball. Eventually she hopes to become a physical therapist.

She also has some sound advice for youngsters trying to follow in her footsteps.

“Your goals can be reached and you should never give up,” said Dana. “If you are willing to work hard, the sky is really the limit.”

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