Every day, defensive specialist Loren Hinkle thinks about winning.
“I go into practice everyday knowing that it counts,” Hinkle said. “If we want to win, we have to be at our best — I have to be at my best.”
Volleyball Head Coach Suzie Fritz has been in charge of the program for the last 19 years and said this group of women are among some of her highest achievers. Fritz said Hinkle is at the top of that scale.
“She expects to do things right the first time and then expects to do things right all of the time,” Fritz said.
Hinkle said family has been the roots to her collegiate success. However, family stretches further than blood. For Hinkle, it includes her teammates who have welcomed her, pushed her and inspired her to be the best version of herself.
Hinkles’ mom Marti instilled a relentless mindset from day one, and Hinkle says her “hard-working” mentality inspires her to keep going.
“The amount of work my mom puts in reminds me to never be lazy … it just inspires me to be great,” Hinkle said.
Redshirt Jacque Smith and Hinkle are friends on and off the court. Smith has been able to see Hinkle grow as a person thanks to this friendship.
“She used to come up to me asking me how to do a drill or where to pass to,” Smith said.
This friendship extends beyond volleyball.
“Jacque has helped me tremendously,” Hinkle said. “It is more than just volleyball: she is there for me emotionally and mentally as well.”
Fritz couldn’t be more proud of Jacque for the mentorship that has taken place.
“First thing I hear is ‘Way to go Jacque Smith,’” Fritz said.
Smith’s mentorship impacted Hinkle positively in her freshman season. Hinkle appeared in all 28 matches and was a 2-time Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll recipient as well as a Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week recipient.
Hinkle has one successful year under her belt and is thankful for the people who have made her freshman year one to remember. However, like all competitors, Hinkle is looking forward to winning with a new team this upcoming year.
“I am definitely looking forward to next season and excited to see what our team can do because I know we can do anything,” Hinkle said.