Hannah Geng 27 and Sophia Austin 27 Rising Stars feature image.
Hannah Geng ’27 and Sophia Austin ’27 Rising Stars feature image.
Gianna Liu

Rising stars

Freshmen state-qualifying swimmer Hannah Geng and all-around volleyball star Sophia Austen reflect on their careers so far.

Hannah Geng ’27

Q: How did you get into swimming?

A: My sister started [swimming] when she was ten, so I started when I was 5.


Q: What’s the difference between club swimming and school swimming?

A: Swimming club is definitely harder. Swimming for school, it’s just more fun. [There are] meets every week in high school, I have three next week. In club, I would probably do three every season.


Q: What has been your happiest moment as a swimmer?

A: One of my favorite meets that I’ve had was at [Central] Zones Championships when I was 12. We were in Indiana

and I was with Team Iowa. It was really fun to hang out with friends from all over Iowa,  not just from our club.

Hannah Geng freshmen stats (Tyler Shane)

Q: What has been your proudest moment while swimming?

A: My most recent one was probably at Summer State this past summer when I won the 100-meter freestyle. It was a pretty close race. The girl next to me had beaten me in other races, so I just wanted to win that one.


Q: What’s your go-to pregame snack?

A: I eat fruit snacks at almost every single meet, so probably that, or Chex Mix

↑ Hannah’s pre-meet playlist!


Sophia Austen ’27

Q: How and when did you start playing volleyball?

A: It was my grandma; she brought a volleyball over [to my house] and we started playing. I started playing recreationally, then for the Iowa Rockets club and have played for six years. 


Q: What is the biggest tournament you’ve been to?

A: The biggest tournament is nationals, and [my club team] went the last four years. Last year, we got ninth overall, which is the best that we’ve ever done.


Q: What is it like being on varsity as a freshman?

A: I was really stressed out before the first game, I was nervous. But the people are really nice. I love my teammates. I love the coaches. It’s just a lot of fun. 


Q: What is the hardest aspect of your sport?

Sophia Austen freshmen stats (Tyler Shane)

A: [Volleyball] is a mental game, and people don’t understand that. It is like a rollercoaster; you [have] to get down and try to be calm in tough moments.


Q: What has been your happiest moment playing volleyball?

A: We won [club] state this last season. It went to three sets; we lost the first and then won the last two. It was a lot of fun because we had worked all season for it. 


Q: What is your favorite position to play?

A: Either middle blocker or outside hitter. I played middle for Rockets this past year [and] outside for high school.


Q: What is your favorite pregame snack?

A: I love fruit snacks, [they] are my favorite.




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About the Contributors
Gianna Liu, Print Sports and Photo Editor
(she/her) Gianna is a Junior and is starting her second year on staff! She is the Photo and Sports Editor this year for print, which is exactly what she loves to do: photography and volleyball! When she isn't doing those or writing, you will catch her binge-watching K-dramas, reading (fiction), biking or perfecting her skin-care routine.
Tyler Shane, FOJ Intern
Tyler is a sophomore at West. He is an intern and this is his first year on staff. If not at practice, he's probably at home sleeping.
Haneen Eltyeb, Videographer
(She/her) Haneen is a junior and this is her first year on WSS staff, working as a videographer. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies (then overanalyzing them), learning about the latest cyber attacks, fixing jewelry and spending time with friends and family.
Minna Abdalla, Assistant Sports Editor
(she/her) Minna is a sophomore at West High and this is her first year on staff. Her job title on staff is assistant sports editor. In her free time she likes to go bike rides, play soccer and hang out with her friends.
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