Lakyn Hager. Photo Credits: Lakyn Hager

 

By Sierra Ruetten

Welcome to the very first edition of Honoring Eagles here on The Eagle Eye! The series will consist of articles highlighting the fantastic students at Reinhardt University. The writers at The Eagle Eye have noticed how hard it is for students to gain recognition for accomplishments outside the realms of sports and academics. We would like to change that. Thus, we are very excited to introduce our very first “honored Eagle”: Lakyn Hager.

Hager, a senior at Reinhardt University, was homeschooled and was able to start her collegiate career as a sophomore. However, she was still considered a freshman on the soccer field. Today, she is a senior in the classroom and a junior on the field. She has been playing soccer at Reinhardt for three years and plans to continue playing for her first year of graduate school using her extra year of eligibility.

This is Lakyn with her teammates on picture day! Left to right: Celeste Diaz (5), Gemma Hall (14), Adrien Merrillies (20), Summer Montgomery (13), and Lakyn Hager (12).  Photo Credit: Lakyn Hager

A Sports Studies major, Hager is excited about her future after graduation. “I hope to get my masters and then probably do something with sports and ministry/missions. Just wherever God leads me!” Hager has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her first three years in college—an impressive feat when you include a full soccer schedule on top of all of her classes. She is currently doing an internship at Reinhardt, working with the sports programs.

In her free time, Hager likes watching movies, hanging out with friends, playing soccer, reading the Bible, listening to music and drinking coffee! When asked about her movie preferences, she says, “I like all kinds of movies, but a lot of the time it’s either Disney or Marvel.”

Hager is the oldest of four, with two younger brothers and a younger sister. She spends her Sunday mornings going to Harps Crossing Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Georgia. Hager spends the morning with the children’s ministry and then goes to the regular service. She tries to visit home as much as she can. This can get difficult with her soccer and school schedule, but she works hard to make sure she leaves time for her family.

Lakyn Hager is one of the hardest-working players on the Lady Eagles soccer team. You may see her running, around campus, to ensure that she is in top shape for the season. She was chosen as the co-captain for the soccer team during the spring season and the upcoming fall season. Hager will be the only returning senior on the team as well. Hager always sees the team as her second family, and her selflessness does not go unnoticed.

Her coach, Andy Kaplan, says, “Lakyn has been one of my favorite people to coach in all of the 18 years I have been at Reinhardt. She works incredibly hard and has improved more than any player who has come through our program. In the three years Lakyn has played for Reinhardt, she has been kind and supportive of her teammates every single day.”

Teammate Brianna Smotherman accentuates Hager’s ability to uplift and inspire. “Lakyn is the most positive person I know, and she never fails to cheer me up even on a bad day. She is someone you look up to because of her strong faith in the Lord. Everyone needs someone like her in your life.” Lally Jasso adds that Hager is “a very smart and loving person, always willing to go the extra mile for anyone.”

Smotherman also tells a story about how Hager brought her, personally, closer to God. Hager and Mrs. Johnson, the wife of the Reinhardt men’s soccer team coach, set up a Bible study group for the women’s soccer team. The group would meet once or twice a month to talk about role models on the team and other ways to the team could come together and work together. Smotherman says, “I am so grateful she was able to plan the meetings out. I am so busy with school and soccer that things like a Bible study slip my mind. Without her, I wouldn’t be as close to my God as I am today.” The study group brought the members of the team together more than any other team bonding experience. Players on the team that were not sure about their faith participated as well as a member who was confident in their faith. All of this would not have been able to happen without Lakyn Hager stepping in and setting up the meetings.

Lakyn with the Reinhardt University’s Womens Soccer team. Photo Credits: Angel Beatrice

Hager always puts others above herself and will do anything for her teammates. Former teammate Summer Montgomery recalls, “Lakyn is the most selfless person I know. She always goes over any expectations you have. I wish to be half the person Lakyn has become!” Another former teammate, Gemma Hall, says, “Lakyn always encourages everyone to be the best person that they can be. She is the heart of the women’s soccer team.”

Hager’s teammates believe she deserves this spotlight because she is the most humble, hardworking person on the team, although she does not get the recognition she deserves off the field. Since she is “always there” for her teammates, they want to show how much they love her as a person and teammate.

Teammates that have lived with Hager on campus say that she is the “mom” of the dorm and that they can’t imagine life without her. Caroline Johnson calls Hager “one of the most genuine and kindhearted people you will ever meet,” noting, “She really looks out for everyone.” Elisabeth Dunlap echoes the sentiment, calling her teammate “the sweetest, most caring person you’ll ever meet! So selfless and always doing the most for others.”

The future is bright and prosperous for the RU women’s soccer co-captain. Lakyn Hager’s caring nature and strong ambition will most definitely see her achieve the goals she sets in her life.

Thank you, readers, for your continued support of The Eagle Eye. Make sure you keep an eagle eye out for our next edition of Honoring Eagles! If you would like to nominate someone, please contact Sierra Ruetten at Ruetten184945@students.reinhardt.edu or Sara Humphries at Humphries182400@students.reinhardt.edu.

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