SAAC Spotlight: Western Oregon's Hannah Rispler
Rispler is an Academic All-Conference Team student-athlete that has played and started 16 matches, logging a team-high of 1,494 minutes back in the fall 2021 season.
Rispler is an Academic All-Conference Team student-athlete that has played and started 16 matches, logging a team-high of 1,494 minutes back in the fall 2021 season.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, uses this space to profile conference student-athletes who are members of their respective institutions’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In addition to providing feedback on the student-athlete experience, conference and institutional SAAC members also offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes’ lives on NCAA member institution campuses.

Name: Hannah Rispler
Sport: Women's Soccer
Institution: Western Oregon
Year: Senior
Major/Minor: Education - Concentration: Language Arts/Minor in Sports Leadership
Hometown: Gresham, Oregon

Why did you choose to attend WOU?: I am incredibly family-oriented, so I wanted to go to a place where my family could easily make every game I played. Additionally, I wanted to go to a school that was prestigious in education. Western Oregon was the perfect fit because of the education program's reputation and its location. Additionally, I chose Western Oregon because of the tight-knit community that the athletes have and truly has a family-like relationship amongst all of its athletes.

What is your favorite class you have taken in college and why?: My favorite class I have taken in college was called "Strength and Conditioning Programming." This class exposed me to a different occupation possibility that I would like to pursue. I have always known that teaching is my calling, but the athlete in me does not want sports to be over once college athletics are over. The class taught me how to construct strength training and conditioning programs based on individual needs, and understand the importance of periodization and specialization for each sport. Because of this, I plan on interning with our extremely reputable strength coach next fall to become exposed to and absorb all the information regarding the life and reality of being a strength coach.

Who is your favorite professor to date and why?: I absolutely loved Professor Henry Hughes. He makes literature enjoyable and exposes me to great American novelists and writers I can teach my future students. Students can immediately see how golden his heart truly is. He is patient, humorous and understanding, and his love for literature and students is highlighted vicariously through his teaching. He inspires me as a future teacher by giving the students the power to lead and explain their interpretations of literature.

What made you want to be involved in SAAC?: In high school, I spent four years in ASB and coming to college I wanted something similar to that organization. Additionally, I wanted to not only have a leadership position on my soccer team, but I wanted something more significant than that. SAAC was not only a way for me to show different athletes from all sports, but it also allowed me to utilize my leadership abilities to benefit my teammates, peers, and other fellow student-athletes.

What is your most memorable SAAC activity to date?: Organizing the "Wolfies," which is our athlete banquet. While this event takes months in advance to plan, the outcome of the entire event is worth it all. For this event, the committee had to create decorations, an outline, a script, a playlist, speakers/MCs, coaches to help, catering and overall physical creation of what we wanted the event to look like. This is the most significant event WOU SAAC holds, and it was an honor to be the main person leading it this year.

What is the most important thing you've learned from balancing the demands of athletics and academics?: The most important thing that I've learned about balancing athletics and academic demands is to realize that this life I currently have will not last forever. I have learned to enjoy the grind both academically and athletically. I've learned how to push myself to be the best student and athlete I can be. Athletics and academics caused me to grow up and take accountability for my life. I found that I have created a very good balance of both the demands from athletics and academics, considering that I am a 3.98 student as well as leading my team in minutes played.

What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome during your collegiate career?: Putting the team before yourself. Before college, I had only played holding midfield for one season in high school my sophomore year. I ended up playing this position for two years and every day I would ask to return to center back. I felt uncomfortable and constantly unsure; I lacked confidence and technical skill. After I shared my frustration with Coach Kacey (Bingham), she informed me that I just needed to absorb the position rather than continue to neglect and deny it. After finally accepting my role and position of playing holding mid, my mindset began to change. But because I played holding midfield for two years, I could tell that my technical ability had dramatically increased.
What does it mean to you to be a Division II student-athlete?: It is an honor and privilege to be a Division II student-athlete. I constantly remind myself and my team that plenty of people would be willing to take our positions or a response from the team at any time. It is a blessing to make it to the collegiate level of athletics, and I never want that to be something to take for granted.
What are your future goals after graduation?: Teach and coach soccer or basketball at a high school, hopefully in Montana. In my free time teaching group fitness/strength classes. Ultimately, I want to open up my own sports performance business for youth athletes in my community to help generate stronger youth programs that feed into high school sports programs.

What is the best advice you would give to an incoming freshman?: College athletics is demanding -- mentally, emotionally, physically, and socially. Enjoy the grind and learn to love it. Immerse yourself in difficult situations, and always be grateful for the opportunity you have to continue your athletic career. Enjoy the travel trips, team bonding events, film sessions, high-intensity practices and the high/low moments of your team.

What is your favorite part about being in the GNAC?: How challenging each team is. I have never walked into a game versus a team in the GNAC expecting to win. Anyone can win on any given day.
What is your favorite sports-related moment?: My favorite sports-related moment was when we played Western Washington home last fall. I scored the game-tying header goal off of a free kick with 37 seconds left in the game and it has been embedded into my brain as a core memory. We needed to at least tie them in order to still be in the running to make the GNAC playoffs. If it were not for Coach Kacey telling me to go up, that play would have never happened. I recall Coach Izzy (Creighton) saying, "The soccer Gods continue to be on our side!" That goal won the "Best Goal of the Year" for WOU soccer in 2021.

Favorite Sports Team: Boston Celtics

Favorite Athlete: Kawhi Leonard

What is one thing that people don't know about you?: I am an avid scrapbooker! I have been scrapbooking my life's adventures since I was in high school.