As athlete, Eberhart triples her fun Playing no favorites: Mount Hebron senior plays volleyball, basketball and softball, and is glad she doesn't have to choose among them.

April 07, 1996|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Sarah Eberhart is good at a lot of things, but not at making decisions.

Ask the 18-year-old Mount Hebron senior what her favorite sport is and she can't decide.

Is it:

a) volleyball?

b) basketball?

c) softball?

"I like all of them and I really wouldn't know which one to choose," said Eberhart. "I really don't like one more than the other. I like to play different sports at different times."

So it's the one we left out:

d) all of the above.

Eberhart has played three sports every year since ninth grade, and all at the varsity level except for one season with the junior varsity basketball team.

"Why should I choose one if I enjoy playing all three of them?" Eberhart said. "I figure if I don't have to choose, I don't want to."

She is playing softball now, and Bill Winder said it's Eberhart's best sport.

"I've watched her in all three sports," Winder said, "and she really stands out in softball."

Should it matter that Winder coaches the Vikings' softball team?

No. He's probably right.

She is an all-county shortstop coming off a season in which she hit .441 with 31 RBI and six home runs.

"I think she feels she knows more about softball," said her mother, Mary, who has been at every one of her daughter's volleyball, basketball and softball games except one.

"I've always felt more comfortable with softball," said Eberhart, who started playing softball and other sports at age 6.

She has attended basketball camps and a volleyball camp but never a softball camp. Softball, it seems, just came naturally.

"Sarah doesn't have to try and be good at softball," said Eberhart's closest friend, Heather Cole, who has played on the same three varsity teams as Eberhart the past two years. "But she's had to work to be good at basketball and volleyball.

"She's really good in all the sports, but I think she has more heart for softball."

Winder can't say enough good things about Eberhart: hard worker, good work ethic, leads by example, great ability, does whatever is asked.

"She's just a great kid," said Winder, whose team is 2-1. "She's the type of person that a coach looks for. If I had eight more like her, we'd be unbelievable."

Eberhart's volleyball teams won state championships her freshman and senior years. An outside hitter this season, Eberhart said volleyball is the sport in which she has improved the most since ninth grade.

Eberhart played both the point and second guard positions on the Vikings' basketball team. Last year's squad reached the state semifinals, but this year's team lost in the region semifinals.

"Basketball wasn't as much fun this year as it was last year," Eberhart said. "It was just a combination of things."

She feels fortunate to have been able to compete in three varsity sports, and to do so almost injury-free. Her worst injuries were sprained ankles in volleyball and softball.

"Both times I landed on someone else's foot," said Eberhart, the youngest of four children. "As long as I don't step on anybody's foot, I'm OK."

Eberhart is competitive, but not outwardly emotional. She's steady, level-headed and always trying her best.

"She's a very, very hard worker," Winder said. "It's a shame she's a senior."

The fact that she is a senior is causing Eberhart some unwanted anxiety. She's facing her toughest opponent in four years -- selecting a college.

"I just wish I knew where I was going," said Eberhart, who has a 3.43 GPA and plans to spend some of this week's spring break looking at colleges. "I'm getting tired of looking."

Her leading candidates are Washington College in Chestertown and Towson State, where her two sisters, Amy and Karen, both attend.

She wants to continue playing at least one of her three sports in college.

There are three more things about Eberhart you should know.

"She's always got a smile on her face," said Winder.

Said Cole: "She's got a really big heart. She's out to help everybody when they need it."

And last but not least, in this age of specialization, Eberhart played three sports because it was fun.

Pub Date: 4/06/96

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