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Volleyball: Hancock senior grabs spot on national team

March 21, 2013|By DANIEL KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com
  • Sara Wagners search for a college ultimately helped land her a spot on the American International Sports Teams volleyball squad.
Submitted photo

Hancock multisport athlete Sara Elizabeth Wagner is like a lot of high school seniors — one of her biggest concerns revolves around where she’ll attend college.

Wagner, who has played volleyball, basketball and softball for the Panthers, started using the National Collegiate Scouting Association athletic recruiting website in an effort to find a college that will allow her to continue her athletic and academic pursuits.

It just so happens Wagner, a middle hitter, found a volleyball program interested in her ... and it wasn’t one she expected at all.

Wagner has been selected by American International Sports Teams to be part of their volleyball squad, which will carry the USA banner at United World Games 2013 in Klagenfurt, Austria, from June 20-23.

“When I first heard about AIST, they sent me an email back in November saying I had been recruited and I honestly didn’t believe it. I thought it was a scam, I didn’t think I was that good at all and it was a lot of money,” Wagner said. “They sent me another email and after some digging, some research, I found out they were a legit program and I talked to their president and he assured me it’s not fake, so we’re going for it.

“I’m definitely honored. I don’t feel like I deserve it.”

Wagner learned of the AIST program through NCSA — which sponsors AIST — and, with the help of her parents, submitted an application and video.

“There’s three ways (to make an AIST team). One is through the web, one is for a coach to nominate her, and one is for a scout to see her play,” mother Sara Jean Wagner said. “We posted an edited video of her playing and slamming the ball, and she looked amazing. ... She’s also an FCA member, a band member, part of the honor society, and they looked at all of that.”

Sara Elizabeth Wagner will join her teammates in New York City right before flying to Germany, then traveling around western Europe for plenty of volleyball and sightseeing.

“I’m looking forward to Germany and going to one of the holocaust concentration camps,” Wagner said. “I know that’s a little darker, but it’s exciting to see the history. ... I have absolutely no idea what the volleyball is going to consist of. I know we’re going to have a few practices and a few exhibitions. I don’t know if I’m good enough to play with these girls, but if not, I’m going to be the best bench-warmer if that’s the case. I’ll be God’s best bench-warmer.”

The United World Games is an Olympic-style competition. Teams will be divided up into pools to start play, before the teams with the best results in pool play will move on to a single-elimination bracket.

Wagner is currently raising funds for the trip. Donations can be mailed for Wagner through the Hancock High School athletic department (289 West Main Street, Hancock, MD 21750), or can be made through the fundraising website www.reachingourgoal.org/donation/Y3GXQN.

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