‘All-around athlete’: Warren senior Sabrina Anderson’s versatility ‘fits the mold’ of Slippery Rock’s track and field team
Sabrina Anderson has played every sport imaginable; at least it seems that way.
Looking through the Times Observer archives, there’s been gymnastics, softball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, cross country, and track and field.
Driving down Pennsylvania Ave. in the summertime, you might even see her rollerblading. The girl has done it all.
She’s dabbled in golf. The third hole she ever played, she parred it.
It’s really no surprise the plan Slippery Rock University has for the versatile Warren Area High School senior athlete.
“We are extremely excited to have Sabrina coming to Slippery Rock University,” said Division II Slippery Rock assistant track and field coach Bill Jordan. “She is a great all-around athlete that has the ability to contribute to our team in many ways. Most likely, she will become a multi-event athlete (pentathlete/heptathlete) when she gets to school, as she has all of the traits we look for in incoming ‘multi’ athletes.”
Sabrina is also excited.
A couple of her former competitors in high school now go to Slippery Rock. And, in this age of social media, they have become closer friends.
Paige Kassab, from Meadville Area High School, has dueled with Anderson in the high jump for years, and is a former District 10 track champion and PIAA medalist in multiple events. Emily Marshall, from Bradford Area High School, is a former multiple-time District 9 champion.
So when Sabrina visited Slippery Rock, she wasn’t a stranger, that’s for sure.
“The girls on the team are just so close,” said Anderson.
They made her feel comfortable and Slippery Rock immediately felt like more of a fit than other schools like Duquesne and the University of Buffalo.
“That’s the important thing,” said her father, John Anderson. “She’s excited about what she’s doing and where she’s going and I’m pretty confident she’ll be successful.”
Anderson has already tied the Warren Area High School record in the high jump at 5-foot-5 inches, and has been a PIAA qualifier in that event.
To Warren Area High School girls track coach Mark Sweet, a head coach for 16 years and assistant coach for eight years prior, she’s more known for being very good at everything; more than being great at any one thing.
“When she goes to college, she can do anything,” said Sweet. “She is hands down, across the board, the best all-around female athlete I’ve coached.
“We literally can put Sabrina in any event and get points,” he said. “I know we could qualify for districts in 8 or 9 events. With that said, she’s also sacrificed a lot, herself.”
What Sweet means is that Anderson has never really focused on just one sport or just one track and field event. There’s no telling how good she could have been in a lesser number of sports or events.
But, if anyone screams Miss Versatility, it’s Sabrina.
“She’s strong as an ox, fast, and a hard worker beyond belief,” said Sweet. “She’s very driven, without a doubt. She is a hard worker, blood and guts. Sometimes we have to reel her in because she works too hard.
“I’m very happy for Sabrina,” he said. “Sabrina has the mentality for a heptathlete because the practice schedule is horrendous – because you have to practice all the events.”
An outdoor women’s heptathlon is composed of seven events – the 100, 200, 800, high jump, shot put, long jump and javelin. The indoor pentathlon includes the 60-meter dash, high jump, long jump, shot put and 800.
Make no mistake, she also has natural athletic ability to adapt to most any sport or event. For example, she hadn’t played soccer since the eighth grade and was named a first-team all-District 10 Region 4 all-star in her senior season – her only high school season playing soccer.
She earned varsity letters in track and field, soccer, basketball, cross country, and an academic letter, which might be the biggest attraction for Slippery Rock and what has made her parents the most proud. She’s made the Merit Honor Roll possibly every marking period in high school.
“As a family, we are very proud of Sabrina and all she has accomplished athletically and academically,” said her mother, Diana Paddock. “We’ve watched her grow in strength and talent since she started gymnastics at the YMCA as a very young girl, and she’s been working really hard ever since. It’s really gratifying to see that hard work rewarded now. We can’t wait to see her compete on the college level.”
She’s excited to get started on a degree in Exercise Science, but, remember, she’s not quite a Rocket. She’s still a Dragon.
Anderson has lofty expectations for her jumps, and her team, hoping the Dragons go undefeated and win Region 4, and shooting for her first District 10 championship, whatever the event.
“All my coaches have played a really big part in everything,” said Anderson. “I’ve had a lot of support from some really good coaches, and my parents have always been there.”
Competing for Warren in the 100-meter dash, 200, long jump, high jump, shot put, 400, 4X100 relay and 4X400 relay has opened some eyes.
“Never the less, she is a very versatile athlete and, because of this, she will also have the opportunity to compete in open events throughout the season (for Slippery Rock),” said Jordan. “Over the last few years we have developed a very close group of multi’s and jumpers at Slippery Rock. I have found that the character of the individual that you recruit is just as important as their abilities. Not only does Sabrina have the athletic ability to be successful at the college level but, more importantly, she is a student-athlete that fits the mold and character of our team. She is extremely hardworking, dedicated to both school and athletics, and is always a positive influence to her teammates.”