Athletic Hall of Fame 2017: Jessica Yanz
January 31, 2017
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Former member of the 2005 state championship Redhawk volleyball team, Jessica Yanz was inducted into the Naperville Central Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday.
She reflects on her enthusiasm for Central sports as an avid Red Rage member.
“I remember having a lot of fun making signs and having so much fun going to support all of the sports here at Central,” Yanz said. “I was also the Redhawk for one of the basketball games, and I was probably the worst mascot of all time, but it was great. It’s just little things like that make the experience at Central so special.”
After high school, Yanz played volleyball at Penn State where she continued volleyball for two years, where she won a national championship in 2007 at Penn state, went to a few final four championships.
“Then I transferred to Nebraska and majored in business, and went to Dayton for grad school where I studied higher education,” Yanz said, “I still played volleyball there, but I’ve hung up the volleyball hat for now.”
Yanz says volleyball has made a positive impact in her life, introducing her to new perspectives.
“Stay tough, work hard,” Yanz said. “I think sports opens up doors for you, and I’ve been around the world and around the country because of volleyball.”
During her freshman year at Penn State, Yanz suffered a season-ending injury but her positivity helped her stay a passionate teammate.
“You learn how to be a good teammate, by supporting your team and the girls around you, there’s a lot of ways you can help out even if you can’t play,” Yanz said.
Transferring universities has also caused the Central graduate to step back and reflect on her progress through life.
“When I transferred, I think I found that that you often think you have your life set out and you know exactly what you’re doing, but then you get to the situation and realise “I need to get my stuff in gear,” said Yanz. “It kind of shows you what’s truly important and makes you go after what is really important.”
For the first time in around 20 years, Yanz is enjoying her break from the court, though she does have her eyes out for possible coaching opportunities in her future.
“There’s some opportunity out with Nebraska to grow the game, and I don’t think they train in middle school or even in high school very much like they do [at Central],” Yanz said. “If they are in need of coaches, and the right situation comes forth, then I might pick it up again.”