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Thursday, June 1, 2023
June 1, 2023

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Martinez: Skyview’s Lia Hawken latest in family’s long line of athletes

High school sports

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
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Skyview&#039;s Lia Hawken (14) plans to sign to play volleyball at the University of Dayton on Wednesday.
Skyview's Lia Hawken (14) plans to sign to play volleyball at the University of Dayton on Wednesday. (Files/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

As the early college signing period starts Wednesday, Skyview volleyball player Lia Hawken plans to make official a decision she hopes helps her accomplish two important goals.

Goal No. 1 — To play college volleyball at the highest level that she can.

Goal No. 2 — To show, once and for all, that she is the most athletic Hawken there is.

Hawken will sign Wednesday with the University of Dayton, which has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in volleyball in five of the past six seasons. The signing will make official a decision she made more than 18 months ago.

The process started in February 2019, during Hawken’s sophomore year at Skyview, when she was spotted playing in a club tournament by Alyssa D’Errico, Dayton’s assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator.

“It was interesting because talking to (D’Errico) now, she’s like ‘Yeah, I saw you in warmups take like two swings and I was like ‘That’s one of the girls we want in our program,’ ” Hawken said.

Hawken made her first visit to Dayton two weeks later and was quickly sold on the Flyers. But her family’s experience with the college recruiting process led her to wait before making a decision, at least for a little while.

She would make a verbal commitment to Dayton two months later.

“I was still stuck on Dayton,” Hawken said. “I loved their campus, loved the coaches, just everything about the school. It felt like home to me. And that’s when I decided that if that’s the way I felt about that school, then there’s no reason to wait any longer.”

Talking to her brothers also played a role in her decision.

Hawken comes from a very athletic family. Her three older brothers — Union grads Cody, Jake and Riley — all played college athletics. Cody and Jake played baseball at the University of Portland, while Riley played basketball at Western Oregon. Her father David Hawken played basketball at the University of Washington (1992-95), and her grandfather Clare Leifer played baseball for the San Francisco Giants organization (1970-71).

“There was a lot of talking to them,” Lia said of her brothers. “I was wondering ‘What made you stay close to home?’ And they said ‘It was just really important (to us) to be close to family, but you have a once-in-a-lifetime offer.’ It’s top-25 NCAA school. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime offer. And that’s kind of what stuck with me through the whole decision process – if I want to play at a high level, that’s the place to go to.”

And in doing so, Lia Hawken hopes to accomplish her second goal — being the most athletic Hawken there is. It’s a lofty goal given her family’s athletic pedigree.

“It’s kind been a little bit of a competition, at least for me,” Lia Hawken said. “It was just kind of like I wanted to be the most athletic Hawken there is and show them up in any way I can. It was a little bit different not going to the same high school they went to. But it still let me create my own little path and my way. It was like ‘let’s see if I can show up Cody or show up Jake’ any way that I can.”

Even though Lia went to Skyview, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t cross paths with people who knew her brothers at Union.

“Even when we would go to play Union in volleyball, I would talk to the line judge, and they would say ‘Oh you’re a Hawken? I remember your brothers back in the day.’ ” Lia Hawken said. “Or there were even sometimes, two of my brothers would come to my game (at Union) and they’d say ‘Oh, hi (to a former teacher)’ and they’d have a conversation because they had them as teachers. And then they’d go (pointing to Lia) ‘she’s the most athletic Hawken there is.’ ”

Hawken hopes she gets the chance to return to playing for Skyview next spring.

“I’d absolute love to be out on the court again definitely for my senior season, just kind of put (a cap on) my four years on Skyview varsity,” she said. “But the thing I definitely have to depend upon is ‘Is it safe for all of us?” … I just wish we were going out on the court and playing Camas and Union and all those other teams in our league. I just wish we had that opportunity right now because it’s tradition. We have our football games. We have our school dances. We have all that. It’s just super weird this year.”

But finalizing her decision to go to Dayton next year makes things a little easier.

“It’s been a long two years of waiting,” she said.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at (360) 735-4538, tim.martinez@columbian.com or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart.