Lady Hawks leave behind big shoes

Not that I’m telling Hampton schools what to do or anything, but if they want to continue the athletic success they’ve seen recently, they need to plaster photos of Madison VanHousen, Tristin Mason, Jaime Troester and Tayler Klassen all over the weight room and their soon-to-be finished gymnasium.
Why? They’re arguably the single-greatest foursome to grace the halls and athletic courts of HHS.
This quartet of Lady Hawks have made an undeniable impression, not just on Hamilton County folk, but the rest of the state.
During their four-year careers, they’ve collected 107 wins in volleyball with just 23 total losses -- and 12 of those came the year they were freshmen -- leaving 11 for the final three seasons.
The cherry on top of that statline is the state championship they brought home in volleyball last November, sporting an unblemished 35-0 record.
If that’s not jaw-dropping enough, this team was just two sets away from winning every single set they played in. In fact, 34 of Hampton’s 35 wins came by way of a sweep.
The success was similar on the basketball court. Over four years, the Lady Hawks won 70 games and lost 27. Thirteen of those losses came during the Lady Hawk quartet’s freshman year.
Two CRC championships and a state tournament berth highlighted the careers in basketball alongside the sporty overall win-loss record.
By the time I arrived on the scene, these girls were entering their junior seasons, which meant I was lucky enough to enjoy the spoils of the success.
Over those final two years, Hampton was 64-6 in volleyball and 41-9 in basketball.
Madison VanHousen is certainly an all-around athlete, but it doesn’t take long to realize that her home is on the volleyball court. She paced the Lady Hawks her senior year in kills with 338, nearly 100 more than anyone else.
Her attack is deadly. You knew when you attempted to take photos of her, that bracing for impact was a certainty. I’ve been on the other end of plenty VanHousen attacks. It’s easy to understand how many can’t save those.
VanHousen will continue her volleyball career at Doane University.
Joining VanHousen at Doane is Jaime Troester. She was the quarterback of the operation and that is what drew the eye of Doane.
During her senior season, Troester had 823 set assists. For those that don’t know, that’s solid.
Troester could’ve played basketball with her shoot-from-the-hip technique that made her look like Clint Eastwood in the westerns.
Tristin Mason was the true wild card of the bunch. She’s so good at both sports I had no idea which one she was going to choose. Honestly, she would’ve been very successful at either. However, she will be playing volleyball at Concordia University.
She was an all-state player in both sports. Her jump serve looks like it belongs in the Huskers’ backline. On the basketball floor, her court vision and ability to make those around her better was something unmatched by many.
Although she was very good on the volleyball court, it always seemed like basketball was home for Klassen. She seemed to have a different vibe during the winter months. It was obvious there was a true appreciation for the game with her.
She’s an all-state basketball player who nearly averaged a double-double her senior season. Seemingly every time Hampton needed a rebound or a drive through the lane, Klassen delivered.
They’re not used to losing. They don’t like to lose.
I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m almost certain the gaping shoes they leave behind for others to fill are much larger than their actual shoe sizes.
RICHARD RHODEN can be reached at


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