Interview: Hillary Hager

On Thursday afternoon, VandyMania stopped by McGugin Center to learn more about the women's basketball summer workouts under the supervision of strength and conditioning coach Lori Alexander. Senior guard Hillary Hager agreed to let VandyMania take some photos as she lifted, and afterwards, she sat down to answer some questions. Here's what she had to say.

VM: Summer workouts are non-mandatory, right?

Hillary: Correct, yes. They are non-mandatory. We don't have to be here, but a lot of us choose to be here.

VM: Do you have pretty regular attendance?

Hillary: Oh yeah. Everybody comes, yeah. If you're here in town, you come.

VM: Lori's allowed to supervise.

Hillary: Oh yeah. Strength and conditioning coach, yeah, she can be in attendance.

VM: From what I watched today, it looks like when she's present, it's more fun?

Hillary: Yeah, it is. Lori is a lot of fun. She makes us work hard, obviously, but she keeps the atmosphere very light, and it's nice. She jokes around with us a lot about how much we're lifting, whatever.

VM: Over the years in the time you've been here, I guess you've probably seen more of her than any other one particular coaching person.

Hillary: Yeah, I would say so because we're with her day in and day out. We lift right now in the summer four times a week and during the season at least three or two. So yeah, we see her quite a bit.

VM: Besides the lifting we saw today that you do four times a week, during the summer do you also do organized conditioning?

Hillary: Yeah, we do. We lift Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and then we condition on Tuesday and Friday morning. And we would condition more-- before everyone else got here, it was just Jenni, Ashley, and I, and we were conditioning four times a week, but now that we're starting to play pickup, everyone's here, so we play pickup three times a week, and we condition the other two days.

VM: I guess with summer school classes, people have to schedule individually whenever they can come in.

Hillary: Yeah, we try to meet with the team on Tuesday and Friday. We lift as a team. Summer school's kind of hard because our schedules are all over the place. Like Jenni's got an internship where she's working from 8 to 4, and I work in a lab, and other people taking classes have class from 2 to 5. So it's really hard to get us all together, especially in June. But I think in July, it'll be a lot better.

VM: And in July, you've got all those freshmen coming in.

Hillary: Yep. Yeah, but they'll be on the same schedule because they'll be taking the same classes, or at least the same time frame.

VM: Are you ready to be den mother?

Hillary: Yeah, I am. I'm excited to get them on campus. I really am. I think it's great that they have the opportunity to come and take classes and get to know the campus before everyone gets here before they're thrown into it. But yeah, I'm excited; I'm really excited to get them on campus.

VM: The summer before you started, were you on campus?

Hillary: Uh-uh. I wasn't able. Well, I could have been here, but they didn't offer summer school then. I think that rule was enacted the following year when Ashley Earley and Tia and Abi came.

VM: So when you came, you had everything all at once when you arrived on campus.

Hillary: Yeah, everything -- workouts, school, trying to find your way around campus. It was a little difficult.

VM: You're going to be one of the seniors this year. What is the most important thing you can commuicate to the freshmen coming in?

Hillary: I think people need to follow the set of rules that have been laid down. I think we need to-- I'm not saying they're going to be bad, or anything, but you never know. There are seven of them, and there are nine of us, so I think as long as we follow our team rules and everything we're going to be fine, get them straight, get everyone on track and staying on track, and I think we'll be okay.

VM: Is there actually a set of rules that are written?

Hillary: We come up with rules like before, but there are kind of unwritten rules. We do have team rules, but there are a lot of like things that that go without being said .. . but it's almost, I would say, like a code of conduct. But we do have team rules.

At this point, Hillary talked in some detail about her workout, as she looked at the photos that VM had taken while she was lifting. Hillary's comments, along with a selection of the photos, will appear in an upcoming VandyMania article. Then, before she left for Thursday afternoon pickup in Memorial gym, VandyMania squeezed in one more question.

VM: Before you go off, could I ask one more question? What actually is your major?

Hillary: I'm a neuroscience major.

VM: What do you hope happens after this year? Is medical school in your future?

Hillary: Yeah, I want to go to medical school..

VM: Does that mean this year you'll be taking the medical school equivalent of the GRE, whatever it's called?

Hillary: Yeah, I take it in August. I'm studying for it right now. I'm taking a review course, an MCAT review course, then I'm taking it on August the 16th. And then I'm going to take a year off from school and do-- I don't know really what I'm going to do yet.

VM: Between graduation and medical school.

Hillary: Yes, and then I want to go to medical school after that.

VM: If all those things fall into place, have you thought about specialties yet?

Hillary: I have, but I have no idea. I think I need to experience a lot more.

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