Catching up with Sarah Hibbert (Volleyball)

September 18, 2009

Anchorage’s Sarah Hibbert has always been ahead of the curve.

She graduated a semester early from South High School. And now she’s playing a starring role for the University of Utah volleyball team as an underclassman.

Sarah Hibbert

Hibbert, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter, leads her team in kills (129) despite ranking sixth in hitting percentage (.213), a feast-or-famine indicator that means when she’s one, she’s unstoppable.

“The season has been a lot of fun. I think I’ve done a pretty good job so far,” Hibbert said in a telephone interview. “I need to just not settle with what I’ve done and just keep trying to get better every day in practice.”

It’s that kind of drive that’s made Hibbert the dynamic player she is today – a former high school All-American who has become a starter on a NCAA Division I team that was nationally ranked until last week.

“I really love it here,” she said. “I’ve made good connections with my professors, with my coaches, and there is just a really good support system.”

Indeed, life is good for Hibbert.

Well, here, let her tell you herself:

Question: Hey, what’s a Utah Ute?
Answer: It’s an Indian tribe. The university has a really good relationship with the Ute Indians, but our mascot for sports is actually a bird called “Swoop.” It’s just kind of a substitute.

Q: Do you hate BYU yet?
A: I could say that I really don’t like their volleyball program, yeah. It’s really exciting (rivalry) and fun to get into. I’m not really a fan of hating other schools … but, of course, in any sport I want Utah to crush BYU.

Q: You got your first college start at BYU. What was that like?
A: Yeah, my family actually got to be there for that game. That was pretty lucky. It was a lot of fun. It was a really intense game because everything just gets so crazy (against BYU).

Q: How does it feel to be playing your best volleyball right now?
A: I don’t know. I’m kind of surprising myself a little bit, which maybe I shouldn’t say. I should say that I have a lot of confidence and that I’m really aggressive or whatever. I’m just kind of put into a situation where I need to step up and I’ve been waiting for it for nearly a year and a half, and working hard to get to get to that point, so I could step up when the time came. The opportunity presented itself and I’m trying to do my best.

Q: What is your major?
A: I’m studying accounting and right now it’s kind of tough. Volleyball counts for one credit, but with volleyball I’m taking 18 credits. It’s been going OK so far, but I have to be better at managing my time.

Q: You’re 6-foot-1, so what size shoe do you wear:
A: Eleven, women’s.

Q: What are your three favorite movies?
A: I can’t really choose movies. I can do books. I’m just kind of critical of movies. I don’t like movies very much. But (the books) I really like are “1984” … “Les Misérables” … and this summer I read “A Thousand Splendid Suns;” that was really good.

Q: Wow, that’s a pretty deep collection?
A: Yeah, I like to read.

Q: How do you plan to spend your dividend check?
A: I’m really looking forward to that. I’m just going to save it, though.

Q: Seriously?
A: Yeah, nothing exciting. I’m kind of lame like that. (Laughs)

Q: What do you miss most about Alaska?
A: Oh, the people for sure. Utah has a lot of opportunities to spend time outside and go skiing and stuff, and so I haven’t missed that as much. But just all my friends, my coaches and all the people I love in Alaska. It was hard because I was at school for a year because I didn’t go home for Christmas, so it was really good to go back this summer and see people and just kind of say hi to everybody.

Q: What did you do when you were home?
A: Mostly I just wanted to spend time with my family and my friends, and spend time outside. Went to the Moose’s Tooth; that was important.