March 03, 2011

Student-Athlete Hits the Books While Racking Up Honors

Erin Hollinger
Erin Hollinger

It’s been a hectic week for junior Erin Hollinger. On Tuesday, she was one of 11 Division III female basketball players in the country to be named a finalist for the Jostens Trophy, which honors basketball ability, academic prowess and community service. Last week, the College Sports Information Directors of America named the basketball forward to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-American team. And until last weekend, the macromolecular science and engineering major’s two sports overlapped, with Hollinger contributing 14 points and six rebounds in the Spartan women’s basketball team’s victory over Carnegie Mellon on Saturday before hopping on a plane to Chicago for the University Athletic Association Indoor Track & Field Championship. At the meet, the women’s team earned fourth place, and Hollinger won the high jump with a mark of 1.63 meters. Oh, and don’t forget those midterm exams.

This isn’t the first time the Chardon, Ohio, native has earned All-American status—in fact, it’s the third, and she’s racked up the honor in both basketball and track & field. With a 3.96 GPA and averaging 16.9 points per game on the court (plus becoming the 10th woman in school history to score 1,000 points), Hollinger is a busy—and talented—woman, to say the least. Just how does she juggle it all?

Q. How do you manage your time between sports and school?
A. Time management is definitely a struggle, especially around this time of year when I have to do a lot of traveling. I think the thing that helps me most is that I know what I want. I want to do well in school, so I set aside time for my work; I want to do well in sports for myself and my team, so I give everything I have during practices.

Q. Was it difficult at first to balance the two, or were you somehow prepared to handle it?
A. It definitely was never easy. In high school, I was used to juggling track and basketball along with my other extra-curriculars, but now the academics are so much more difficult. Every season it takes some time to adjust to my new schedule, but somehow it comes together.

Q. How do your professors and coaches help you with the balance?
A. Both my coaches and professors understand the demands that are placed on us. During exam weeks coaches usually give us a little leeway for mental errors, which is very helpful. Professors can see how hard we work and are willing to meet to discuss anything we may need. A few of my professors have even come to games to support us, which is really nice.

Erin Hollinger high jump
Hollinger high jumps at the UAA Championship meet.

Q. For a few weeks, you were doing both basketball and track—how did you manage it all?
A. This past weekend may have been one of the most overwhelming things I have ever experienced. I had my last basketball game on Saturday night, and Sunday morning I flew to Chicago to jump in the UAA meet. I had never flown by myself, taken a cab, or even been to Chicago's track. To add to that, I had a long bus ride back and tests on Monday morning. Normally, life isn't this hectic, but I hope the worst is behind me. No matter how crazy everything gets though, I could never give up either sport.

Q. What do you like about the two sports?
A. The best thing about both is definitely the teams. They are like families to me and support me in everything I do, and there is no way I would manage without them. The sports themselves demand different things from me, since in basketball I work directly with my teammates and in track is more of an individual event, but what I love most is the people who do the sports with me.

Q. Why did you decide to attend Case Western Reserve University?
A. I wanted to stay close to home, get a good education, and be able to do both basketball and track, and Case was a perfect fit and I really felt comfortable here. I don't think I could have chosen a better place to be. I am extremely happy with my decision.

Q. What do you hope to do after graduation?

A. I don't have a concrete plan for after graduation yet. I feel like I have a lot of options between grad school or going into industry. I have already experienced the researching side of polymer science, and this summer I have an internship in industry, which will hopefully help me decide where I want to be. I'm very excited to see where my life takes me.

Posted by: Emily Mayock, March 3, 2011 07:55 AM | News Topics: Athletics

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