Spending the majority of her time at Westmont Hilltop playing above the net, it may seem natural that Sarah Polacek would choose to spread her wings and venture away from the region to continue her athletic career.
Polacek, who just completed her senior season at Westmont Hilltop, signed a National Letter of Intent on Tuesday to join the volleyball program at West Chester University.
With acceptance into West Chester’s nursing program already, Polacek’s decision to venture east came at the end of a long process.
“So many factors went into picking the right college for me,” Polacek said. “It came down to the environment that I was in and as soon as I was on that campus, I had that feeling that I just that I wanted to be here.”
Polacek, who was getting looks from all levels, noted that St. Francis, Duquesne and Gannon were among the other schools on her radar.
“Originally, I was planning on going very far,” Polacek said.
“But I thought (West Chester) was a good fit, because I’m still far enough from home that I can learn to live on my own and grow by myself, but close enough that I can go home if I wanted to.”
Polacek holds the program’s all-time record for kills in a career with 1,070. She also owns the highest single-season hitting percentage mark at .410, recorded during her junior season.
A three-year starter, Polacek helped the Hilltoppers reach the District 6 postseason in all three years with a recently concluded trip to the Class AA semifinals this past month.
Polacek was named to the all-District 6 first team earlier in the week according to Hilltoppers coach Denise Nairn and will be a participant in the annual Cambria-Somerset all-star match on Nov. 23.
The individual accolades and runs by the Hilltoppers in district play aided Polacek as she managed to raise her profile.
“I definitely think our advancements in District 6 last year and this year helped me to be able to play other girls who were at the same level, almost at that college level,” Polacek said. “I also play travel, too, which definitely prepares me for college.”
Polacek is the daughter of Mary and Tom Polacek