Izzie Hinton loved playing volleyball for North Crowley, but she was also ready for a change.
With college on her mind, the senior wrapped up high school last month, and has moved on to the next level.
Hinton graduated from North Crowley on Dec. 18, finishing high school in 3 1/2 years, becoming the first volleyball player at the school to do so.
On Monday, the 6-foot-2 outside hitter began the spring semester at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. The Wolverines finished tied for third in the Western Athletic Conference last season.
I’ve known it was a possibility to graduate early since the beginning of my recruiting process.
North Crowley graduate Izzie Hinton, a Division I volleyball signee at Utah Valley
“I’ve known it was a possibility to graduate early since the beginning of my recruiting process; when I committed they brought up the idea,” Hinton said.
“I spoke with my parents and weighed out the options and decided it was the best thing for me. I can play a year of spring, learn what the college game is like, and learn to balance school and volleyball before the season starts.”
Hinton excelled academically and athletically, helping the Panthers in all four seasons. In 2014, the Panthers won District 4-6A. This past season, she was named the 4-6A Utility Player of the Year. In 2014, she shared the award.
“Her hard work in our program, outside our program and in the classroom have all helped her get to where she is now and to make this possible,” North Crowley coach Stephanie Cunningham said. “She has been extremely busy and still been able to keep her grades up and do well in our program.
“I am really excited for her to start a new chapter and I think that she will do great.”
Hinton committed to the Wolverines in July 2014, and signed in November. Her father, Jay, played baseball at Utah Valley. She finished high school as a four-time district all-academic selection with a 3.5 GPA.
“I visited a lot of different schools, lots of different programs and varying in size. I went up to Utah Valley at the end of my sophomore year for camp and it felt like home,” she said. “I absolutely love the staff and the girls in the program. Very excited for the success in the coming years.”
“Izzie has a good attitude and work ethic also, which we are really big on,” Cunningham added. “She has also been a good teammate and really helped contribute to the program’s success the past four years.”
Hinton finished her final year second on the team with 389 kills, and led with a .311 hitting percentage, 62 aces and 40 blocks. She also added 124 digs.
“A bittersweet experience, I enjoyed playing with my sister [Libby] on varsity. Knowing it was my final year in high school made me full of emotions, wanting to make every game count,” she said.
Having begun playing volleyball in the seventh grade, Hinton was on varsity all four years. She also played for the Texas Advantage Volleyball club team, which was top 10 nationally in each of her three years and was third in the USA 16-Division.
“Coach Cunningham has played a huge role in my development as a player, she has always pushed me to be the best player I can be on the court, and also the best person I can be off the court,” Hinton said. “She has made winning a tradition at North Crowley, and I am glad to have been able to be a part of that.”
Since the opening of the school 18 years ago, Hinton leaves as one of the best in the program, and quite arguably the best left-hander ever at North Crowley.
Izzie came to us four years ago a tall, skinny, lanky girl whose skills needed a lot of work. I’m happy to say four years later she is graduating early to go play college volleyball.
North Crowley coach Stephanie Cunningham
“Izzie came to us four years ago a tall, skinny, lanky girl whose skills needed a lot of work. I’m happy to say four years later she is graduating early to go play college volleyball.
“She has been a great example to her teammates and others that with hard work and determination you can do great things,” Cunningham said.
“Many of our players have watched her grow as a person and player and she has really pushed them all to do the same by setting the standards for hard work and being coachable really high.”
“She has definitely helped take North Crowley Volleyball to a new level. I am really happy that Izzie has been a part of our program and helped keep a tradition of winning and making playoffs for the past seven years in a row. We are sad to see her leave, but wish her the best of luck in her new adventure.”
As for a career and degree, Hinton wants to study nursing, and work with the pediatric oncology patients.