Hahn exceeding sophomore expectations


Photo of D.J. Hahn courtesy of Jeff Helsel, SAI.

Rachael Kriger, Editor In Chief

D.J. Hahn is using the best advice she’s ever gotten more and more.

Hahn, a guard for the California University of Pennsylvania Vulcans basketball team, says that “not letting everything get to me” has helped keep her calm in big moments on the court.

Hahn, a sophomore, is being relied on much more this season than last year.

Last year, Hahn featured in 29 games, but never started. She averaged 2.3 points and 1.5 rebounds per appearance.

This year, the story is different.

Hahn, who hails from Warren, Pa., has started 14 out of her 19 appearances for the Vulcans. In 2016-17, Hahn recorded 278 minutes – and is close to doubling that already this season.

Sometimes, Hahn features as a forward, but no matter where she’s positioned, she’s just happy to be on the court. Featuring as a regular starter is something that Hahn called a “great honor.”

“It was unreal because of watching most last year and seeing what it really takes to get on the floor for [head coach] Jess Strom,” Hahn said.

Strom, as well as her fellow coaches Katie Tetzlaw and Kelly Sabo, have faith in Hahn and her abilities. Hahn shares the opinion for

“I have a different relationship with all three of them,” Hahn said. “They’re all so different and they do whatever to help you out. They do way more then their job entitles and I appreciate that beyond words.”

Hahn is learning that becoming a starter isn’t just about having the coach’s trust; Hahn is embracing a leadership responsibility, despite only being a sophomore.

“I’d like to be more of a leader by example and speak more, especially for underclassman like Bianca [Jasper],” Hahn said. “She is more grown up than I would ever expect a freshman to be and even now as my point guard I see her leading me.”

Individually, Hahn, who studies mechatronics engineering because she’s always been fascinated by robots, wants to improve on “all aspects” of her game.

“You can never be good enough to not have team goals,” Hahn said. “Team goals are always the same no matter what; we take it one day at a time and work for a PSAC region and national championship.”

The Vulcans currently are sitting in first place in the PSAC West with a conference record of 13-2 and an overall record of 18-3. The final stretch of the season is fast approaching, with the Vulcans traveling for four out of their seven February games.

The final two games of the season will be at home in the Convocation Center against Clarion and Seton Hill. Then, PSAC playoff action will begin.

In the playoffs, Hahn will follow the lead of Shatara Parsons, Abbey Sporio and even injured forward Seairra Barrett.

“There’s never a day that goes by where they don’t help me out, whether they know it or not,” Hahn said.

This season, the growth from Hahn has been a bright spot for Strom. Seeing a sophomore player turn into a regular, consistent starter is Strom’s look toward the future, since she’ll have her for two more years.

After all, Hahn doesn’t plan on leaving Cal U.

Hahn came here because the school “felt like home.” Now, it’s more than the school that has become home for Hahn.

She can add the court to that list.