College Commitment Countdown: Hanna Mar Remains a Devil
by Ali Jones
, 14 October 2009
Hanna Mar's college mascot will be no different from her high school's, except for its color: she's trading her Hinsdale Central Red Devils for Duke University's Blue Devils.
Duke's athletics tradition includes national championships in basketball, soccer, golf and most recently, tennis
, but it is its academic reputation that was equally as important in Hanna's decision.
"I visited a number of schools, and there was just a feeling I had at Duke," Hanna said. She went to Durham at the end of 2008, attended a couple of classes, watched the team practice and spoke to an academic counselor.
And certainly Duke considered Hanna's academic strength as well as her tennis resume when it offered her a slot on the team. She has been a consistent honor student in a highly regarded high school and is a member of the National Honor Society. In her understated manner Mar says that she's "done well enough to make the Dean's List for several semesters."
She plans to pursue her interests in math and science.
Hanna's angelic smile and demeanor belies the devilish competitor who ceaselessly torments her opponents, particularly on the tennis court. The blue-chip recruit is ranked 3rd in Illinois and 19th in TennisRecruiting.net's senior class. Among her trophies are back-to-back Winter National Championships in Scottsdale in the 16s and 18s divisions.
"Her honesty and sportsmanship aren't just practiced on court, she also strives to live her everyday life in the same manner," longtime coach Marcy Hendricks said. "We are all very excited that she's going to play collegiate tennis at Duke."
Among her numerous tournaments in her junior career Hanna remembers best the 2008 Girls 18s Winter Nationals.
She won the first five matches in straight sets, but was down a set in the semis to California five-star Stephanie Hoffpauir and came back to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-0.
In the finals she won the first set against Georgia-bound blue chip Kate Fuller 6-2, lost the second 4-6 and finally pulled off the third 6-2.
"It was a long, difficult tournament with many tough matches," the Burr Ridge local says. "I was fortunate to make it to the finals. Once I got to the finals, I knew that I would have to fight hard in order to win the championship. I had to give everything I had for one more match, and it worked out well."
Hanna loves tennis, but her life is not only about tennis. She loves the camaraderie of her high school team, the academic challenges of her school and never considered the home school option.
"I like the learning environment [of regular school], classroom setting and working together," Hanna said.