Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs BW at Ohio State Jesse Owens Classic
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs Capital at Otterbein Twilight
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs Capital at Ohio State Jesse Owens Classic
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs Heidelberg at ONU Polar Bear Invite
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs John Carroll at Ohio State Jesse Owens Classic
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs John Carroll at BW Sparky Adams Invite
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs John Carroll at Wake Forest Invite
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs Marietta at Jesse Owens Classic
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs Marietta at Otterbein Invite
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs Mount Union at Otterbein Twilight Meet

Ohio Athletic Conference

Capital's Avery Hart Named Printing Concepts Scholar Athlete for the Month of January

January Printing Concepts Scholar-Athlete of the Month | Avery Hart, Capital

 

By: Nick Astalos, Sports Information Director

Approximately 3% of high school women’s soccer players go on to play Division III collegiate soccer. Furthermore, only about 6% of high school women’s lacrosse players go on to play Division III collegiate lacrosse. Even fewer student-athletes ever get to play in the NCAA Tournament. And, even fewer than that ever get to play in the NCAA Tournament multiple times, especially in two different sports.

At Capital University, senior Avery Hart has achieved something not many can match – compete in multiple sports at the collegiate level and play in the NCAA Tournament with both of those sports.

A recruit to play soccer at Capital, Avery had picked up lacrosse during her senior year at Pickerington North High School and figured it would be a great opportunity to try another sport while continuing to immerse herself with her friends.

“In high school I played soccer and basketball and pole vaulted in track and field,” said Hart. “I had a lot of friends who played lacrosse and I was looking to give it a shot, so I picked up a stick and the rest is history.”

As a freshman at Capital, Avery was solely focused on her soccer season. That year would see her finish the season with 10 goals and four assists and an OAC Freshman of the Year award.

However, in the spring, her mind was reopened to the sport of lacrosse as she was faced with the opportunity to play the non-traditional spring season of soccer or join the lacrosse team and play another competition season.

“I thought lacrosse would just be a high school thing and I never really gave it much thought,” Hart continued. “A couple of my friends from high school played at Capital and with the encouragement of them and Coach Florence, I decided to play lacrosse to stay in shape for soccer season.”

That first spring lacrosse season during Avery’s freshman year was short-lived as Covid-19 prematurely shut down the season after the team had played just five games. In those games, Hart scored one goal.

From there, Avery’s sophomore soccer campaign would be delayed to the spring of 2021, thus keeping her out of the lacrosse season.

That year with the trials brought on by the pandemic, Avery saw her typical production in soccer dip as she finished with just one goal and one assist in seven games. 

Despite the difficult season, Avery knew she had time to get back on track and in the fall of 2021, she would score nine goals and three assists to earn first team All-Conference and second team All-Region honors.

With a successful soccer season under her belt, Avery now had the opportunity to re-join her lacrosse teammates as a junior and prepare for another season of competition.

That spring, the women’s lacrosse team would set sail on a truly historic run that saw them win their first OAC Regular Season and Tournament Championships and qualify to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Along the way, the team would break or set more than 30 program single-game, single-season, and career records, while also leading the nation in scoring offense. Avery would finish with nine goals and five assists.

“The team was just a family and honestly nothing I had ever been a part of on any team I had been on before,” she said. “We were a small team, but so talented, and that family bond we had truly made us come together and just keep winning.”

With Capital’s 22-14 win over John Carroll in the OAC tournament final, the program earned their first bid to the NCAA Tournament. With the automatic bid secured, the Comets would travel to Chicago where they would defeat Hamline before falling to Chicago in the second round.

“I don’t think I ever realized how big of a deal and special of a moment it is to play in the NCAA Tournament until we were there and continued to win,” mentioned Hart. “I don’t think I will ever forget that first time.”

Fast-forward to the fall of 2022, Avery re-joined her soccer team and began her final season in a Capital jersey as she had already predetermined to graduate in December of 2022 with her degree in Business Management.

That season would reap rewards for Hart and truly give her the sendoff her career had deserved. By season’s end, Avery finished with 12 goals, six assists and was named a second team All-American, first team All-Region, first team All-Ohio and the OAC Forward of the Year for her efforts on the field.

Those efforts, alongside her teammates, helped Capital women’s soccer win the OAC Regular Season Championship for the first time since 2015. With the team falling 1-0 in the OAC tournament final, Capital was made to wait and see if the team would get into the NCAA Tournament after finishing with a 12-3-3 record.

“I was truly shocked when they announced Capital as an at-large team,” Avery said. “I was under the impression that the OAC was a one-bid conference and I had already gone through the emotion of coming to terms that my career could be over. But when they called Capital, I was relieved to have the opportunity to play another game.”

With their bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Comets traveled to Cleveland where they would lose to Ithaca in the first round by a final score of 1-0, ending the season and closing the book on the storied career of Avery Hart.

As if her accomplishments in both soccer and lacrosse were not enough, Avery leaves her name behind on an exclusive list of Capital student-athletes as one of the few to compete in the NCAA Championships in different sports in the same calendar year. She is believed to be the first Capital student-athlete to play in the NCAA Tournament in the same calendar year in separate team sports, but she joins a list of three others to do so in different sports. In 2006 and 2007, football had student-athletes compete as individuals at the NCAA Championships in track and field. Furthermore, 10 other student-athletes had competed at both the indoor and outdoor championships as individuals in track and field.

Being a member of the exclusive class of collegiate student-athletes is uncommon. As a member of that class, playing in the NCAA Tournament is even more uncommon. But to play in multiple NCAA Tournaments with multiple teams is a stature few have ever achieved.

With all that she accomplished in her time as a student-athlete at Capital University, Avery still managed a way to maintain a 3.8 GPA in the classroom and finish all of her credits toward her Business Management degree in just three and a half years.

With her name etched in the record books of Capital Athletics and a newly minted degree in tow, Avery will now begin to write the next chapter of her story as she begins a new position within management at Aldi and continues to tap into her ability to achieve.