By Angelica Melara
The SUNY Plattsburgh nursing program is known to be one of the most time consuming majors on campus, but junior Sarah Hoeffner manages to get her schoolwork done while also being a part of the tennis team.
Her interest in nursing began when she was young.
“My grandparents were very sick when I was growing up, so I saw how the nurses took care of them when they were nearing their end, and it inspired me,” Hoeffner said. “[The nurses] helped out a lot with them, and they helped out the family too.”
When she was younger and deciding what she wanted to be when she was older, she also decided to start playing tennis. Hoeffner was 7-years old when she started playing tennis.
She played it at a summer camp when she was little, and told her parents she wanted to continue playing it.
Her parents had been confused because the family sport was soccer, but they signed her up, and she’s been playing since.
One of her motivators for tennis is Serena Williams.
“She’s my favorite tennis player,” Hoeffner said. “I love her. I love everything about her. She’s awesome.”
Hoeffner’s motivator might be Williams, but head women’s tennis coach Karen Waterbury said that Hoeffner is a motivator for the other women on the team.
“She’s a really great person. She’s a good motivator and leader,” Waterbury said. “She’s a hard worker, and she’s very coachable.”
Hoeffner was the number one doubles player, and she managed to go all-conference in doubles last year because of her coachability and athleticism, Waterbury said.
Academically, Hoeffner said her friends who are in her major are her motivators. “We all kind of push each other to keep up with nursing and stuff,” Hoeffner said.
“In nursing, she’s become more confident,” Waterbury said. “She’s more confident all around, and her attitude is always positive.”
When Hoeffner was a freshman, she joined the jiu jitsu club. Although it is not happening at the moment because it is a high risk club sport, Hoeffner said she loves it.
“I love martial arts. I like going to kickboxing classes,” Hoeffner said. “I like to stay active, like moving around and all that kind of stuff, so that’s fun.”
At the start of the semester, the tennis team was not allowed to have practices because of the threat of COVID-19. However, because tennis is a low-risk sport in terms of contact, it has been approved to start practices this week.
“We started practicing, and it’s great to be around everyone, and to keep playing,” Hoeffner said.
To stay active, she has been going on walks around Plattsburgh with her roommates. When there were no practices being held, Hoeffner would do home workouts, and go on runs to stay in shape. One of her roommates who is also on the team would go with Hoeffner to the tennis court to have one-on-one matches.
When it comes to matches, Hoeffner is sure to communicate with her coaches and teammates.
“Last year, when she was in our number one doubles, the player she was playing with was very good, but Sarah was the best person to play with her and to complement her,” Waterbury said. “She really turned it into a team versus two individuals, and it would’ve been really easy to put somebody else in that position, but Sarah is someone who’s going to make sure things click when she’s working with an individual, and she’s going to do the grunt work.”
When she wasn’t playing tennis over quarantine, Hoeffner decided she was going to do the PlattsFitness workouts on Instagram.
“It was so interesting, just making the switch to working out online,” Hoeffner said.
Hoeffner’s nursing schedule has been a bit messed up, but she has adapted to the changes. She still has in-person clinical, with some online classes and a few hybrid classes.
When she finishes school, Hoeffner wants to start working as a registered nurse. She has been looking into becoming a nurse practitioner, and wants to go back to school, but wants to work for a few years first to see how she likes being an RN.
Looking into the future, coach Waterbury hopes that Hoeffner continues to enjoy tennis because it is a great sport to continue as a lifelong activity, and that she has a good time and enjoys life.