Life as a rookie varsity athlete was a rollercoaster ride for Hailey Oke, but it turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of her young life.
The 18-year-old Massey Drive native wrapped up her rookie campaign with the Memorial Sea-Hawks varsity women’s volleyball team with a loss to the Dalhousie Tigers in a three-game sweep in the semifinal round at the 2018 Atlantic University Sport varsity women’s volleyball championships at the Field House in St. John’s over the weekend.
“I’ve loved every second of it,” Oke said Tuesday afternoon. “The girls are absolutely amazing and just getting to be in the gym with them every day is such a privilege and I’m just so happy to have gotten to play with them this year and to keep playing with them in the coming years.”
The six-foot-three outside hitter admits she still works hard to keep up with balancing academics and athletics, but feels she made great strides to find her comfort zone as the season progressed.
Spending so much time trying to get better, giving up weekends to travel to games and trying to be your best every day carried some pressure for her, but she realizes it’s all part of the growing process when it comes to making the shift from high school to college life.
“Every day is a grind,” she said.
Winning the AUS championship was a realistic goal for the Sea-Hawks this season so there’s some disappointment being felt in the group.
But Oke said the team came up with a great performance and showed a lot of improvement in the few weeks leading up to the championship tournament so they are holding their heads high.
“We played really hard and fought for every point,” she said.
It was a season of learning and growing so she can’t wait for her sophomore season.
She is all smiles when she thinks about how she felt about her individual effort in her rookie year.
“I feel great about the effort I put in. I feel like I’ve improved a lot as a player and a person from this season,” she said.
Perhaps a rhetorical question, Oke didn’t hesitate when asked if she would love to do it again next season.
“It’s the best place to be,” she said.