Heidelberg University senior outside hitter Jackie Reinhart (New Riegel) has a passion: teaching. Not only in a classroom, but on the court as well. The reigning Ohio Athletic Conference player of the year has spent this fall—her senior season of volleyball—leading her team to a No. 5 national ranking (American Volleyball Coaches Association) 29-5 overall and 9-0 OAC record, the team’s third straight regular season championship, home court advantage throughout the OAC tournament, all while completing her student teaching requirements to earn her degree in middle childhood education.
Her dedication to being a student-athlete earned her the OAC Scholar-Athlete of the Month for October.
Reinhart spends as much time with volleyball as she does with her studies, preparing upwards of 25 lesson plans each week to teach five times per day to her sixth grade science classes at Tiffin Middle School. “It’s nice to be recognized both for my athletic achievements and efforts with my studies,” said Reinhart,” who is one of just three student-athletes to record 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs at Heidelberg.
Reinhart holds a 3.71 grade point average is a three-time All-OAC outside hitter, two-time Academic All-OAC honoree, was a first-team All-Great Lakes Region and honorable mention All-America selection in 2010, and was recently nominated for the Capital One/College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America team.
“We are very proud of Jackie for receiving this honor,” said 12th-year head coach Jason Miller. “She is a great representative, not only of our team, but of Heidelberg student-athletes as a whole.”
Despite the challenges of working a full week at TMS and playing volleyball, Reinhart still manages to provide leadership to a team that has found great success this season with just three seniors. She has taken the lead in helping bring the team, in particular the young girls on the squad, together to find team chemistry. Reinhart encourages the team to stick together during the preseason, when only student-athletes are on campus prior to the start of classes, eating each meal together and communicating only with each other.
“Our team is almost like a sorority,” Reinhart said. “We hang out with each other all the time and try to get to know one another early in the season by going on scavenger hunts and planning movie nights.”
Her leadership this season has allowed her to put to practice her love for teaching, especially with the freshmen, and will equip her with the tools to find success next year in a middle school classroom.