Hawkeyes Wrap Another Productive Spring

May 18, 2012

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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Getting better and giving back. That’s what the University of Iowa volleyball program did this spring. The Hawkeyes filled their 2012 spring calendar with classes, competition and community service.

Iowa had four spring competition dates, including trips to Indiana, Chicago and Northern Iowa, and a home date with Western Illinois. And to no one’s surprise, senior Allison Straumann said the quality of play improved each week.

“The first week in Indiana was a little rough,” said Straumann, “but we got better each week and that’s what we needed. We worked hard every day, and it was nice to see the results improve each time out.”

In between weekend matches, the Hawkeyes did much more than just go to class, watch tape and hit the weights. They also made regular visits to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics to spend time with children in the pediatric unit. Members of the team would give 1-2 hours each visit, turning the sterile hospital hallways into a carnival of activities on the arts and crafts table and in the game room — where they would be entertained by air hockey, basketball, video games, and pinball.

“We really enjoy it,” said junior Nikki Dailey. “There are many ways we can give back to the community, but none are as rewarding. It’s unbelievable how much energy these kids give me every time I visit.”

On April 13, Dailey made the trip to the UIHC with junior Chante’ Thompson and sophomore Erin Leppek. The trio spent part of their afternoon with Miles Peterman, a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Bailey Tickal, who makes the trip to the UIHC from Mason City, Iowa.

Miles is a lifelong Hawkeye fan with blueprints for a new and improved athletic campus.

“I want to make Kinnick Stadium bigger,” said Miles. “It would be more like an amusement park that could host multiple sports like volleyball and wrestling; and it would have lemon and black cherry snow cones, ice cream cones and lots of bathrooms.”

Bailey spent the first 50 days of her life at the UIHC, and she has been back every couple of months since receiving a kidney transplant as an infant. But in between hospital visits she spends a lot of time shooting baskets in her driveway with her father, Tim, a basketball coach at Mason City High School.

“She’s the one of our three daughters we didn’t want to like basketball because it can be pretty aggressive,” said her mother, Heather, “but she is really pretty good at it.”

She certainly wasn’t intimidated by 6-foot-3 Chante’ Thomson guarding the hoop.

“She’s not scared of much,” Heather Tickal said from the UIHC children’s gymnasium. “She loves to play, she does not like to be in bed and she’s usually feeling pretty good once we get the fluids in her. That’s what’s great about this hospital, they always have things for her to do and it’s just great these players take time out of their day to visit. It’s very nice.”

Finals week ended May 11 and the Hawkeyes will begin summer weight training before training camp resumes in August, but Dailey said her visits to the UIHC won’t be limited by seasons.

“We’ll be back whenever we can,” said Dailey. “And it’s not just us, the student-athletes from every sport love giving back, especially for kids. It’s something we need to do and something we really enjoy doing.”