The name has to be familiar by now.
From her days of winning state titles at York Catholic High School to her dominance on the hardwood at York College, the name Brittany Hicks has become a part of the vernacular of York County sports since around 2007.
But just like I do, most people probably associate Hicks with the sport of basketball. So it caught my eye the other week when her name popped up in an email detailing another win for the York College women's volleyball team. And not only is Hicks playing a second sport on the hardwood, she's a starter for a young Spartans volleyball squad that's 8-2 in its first 10 games, the best start to a season since 2010 (9-1). It's only the fifth time in the program's 17-year history that the Spartans have won at least eight of their first 10 games.
The team makes its 2013 home debut at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Hood.
One of two seniors on the volleyball team, Hicks has started nine of the 10 games, totaling 81 digs, 66 kills, seven blocks and six aces. Not bad for someone who hasn't played volleyball since the fall of 2009 in her senior year at York Catholic.
"I was surprised," Hicks said of her performance thus far when chatting after a practice last week. "But hard work pays off and I hope that's something that younger kids can see nowadays, that someone who really wants it can go out there and get whatever they want."
Giving the OK: Several women's basketball players have participated in spring sports in Betsy Witman's 17 years as the York College women's basketball coach. But Hicks is the college's first student-athlete to play both women's basketball and volleyball. She's just the second women's basketball player to play a fall sport.
"I wasn't really keen on the idea, but after hearing why she (Hicks) wanted to do it and hearing she was a good high school player, I started to jump on board with it," Witman said. "At the (NCAA) Division III level you can't say 'No. You can't play volleyball.' She's not on an athletic scholarship, although she came to York to go to school and play basketball."
Hicks has wanted to play both sports since her freshman year of college.
"But declaring as bio (biology) major, I wasn't sure whether or not I could handle the academics and both sports," Hicks said. "So I just kept putting it off, and then when I saw I only need 26 credits to graduate, I just said 'You know what? It's your senior year. You don't want to regret anything.'"
Dealing with death: The 5-foot, 10-inch Hicks feels like she's in the best shape of her life and isn't much worried about the possible wear and tear on her body juggling two sports in her senior year. Then again, if anyone knows about how far the human body can be pushed it's Hicks, who wants to become a mortician -- also known as a funeral director -- after college.
"I know. It gets weirder and weirder, doesn't it?" Hicks said with a laugh before getting to the serious part of her decision about her future career.
She's had two grandparents, two aunts and an uncle die from the time she was 15.
"I just realized that I can handle death a lot better than most people can," Hicks said. "Obviously being in bio I want to give back and help people, but I don't really want to be a teacher or anything. The body has always interested me. I was going to go to med school and then opted out of it. I figured this is a way I can still hone my love for science and help someone at the same time."
When hearing about those obstacles, it makes sense that Hicks isn't much concerned about the issue she could face in November. The women's basketball team plays its first game of 2013-14 season on Nov. 15, six days after the CAC volleyball title game, a destination volleyball coach Sue Dumars believes her program can reach for the first time since 2003. Anything beyond that would interfere with the women's basketball schedule, a problem Hicks would welcome.
"Obviously I'm in-season right now with them so everything comes first (with volleyball)," Hicks said.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.