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Burbank High's Katie Hooper multitasks to success in two sports

Senior helped Bulldogs softball and volleyball teams win league titles and snap long-standing droughts.

August 15, 2013|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(File Photo )

When she arrived at Burbank High as a freshman, Katie Hooper was determined to play multiple sports.

Along with softball, Hooper competed in girls' volleyball and girls' soccer. However, after enjoying a successful sophomore season on the diamond for the Bulldogs, Hooper said she began to hear rumblings that she should specialize in one sport and not divert her efforts among multiple endeavors.

"There were some people who did tell me that," said Hooper, who earned All-CIF Southern Section Division II honors after batting .539 with 48 hits, 45 runs batted in, 32 runs scored and nine home runs as a sophomore in 2010. "People said I should just concentrate on softball and that way I would have a better chance at getting a college scholarship."

Although an accomplished goalkeeper, Hooper did give up soccer after two years after helping Burbank to two postseason appearances and a second-place finish in the Pacific League in 2010.

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However, she just couldn't stop playing volleyball.

"I have to admit I did think of giving up volleyball a little bit," Hooper said. "But playing volleyball kind of took my eye off of softball for a little bit and it helped give myself a little break from softball.

"But I've always wanted to play whatever sport is out there. Even when I was little, I liked to play all kinds of sports."

While some coaches might frown on an athlete from their team competing in another sport, Burbank softball Coach Nicole Drabecki had no problem with Hooper's choice.

"I think it was great that Katie was able to play multiple sports," Drabecki said. "Playing different sports lets you use different muscle groups and gives you a different perspective of what you need to do to be successful in that particular sport. It was very good for her because it also gave her a little break from playing softball all the time."

Even when she signed a softball scholarship with Cal State Northridge, Hooper said the program's coaches encouraged her to keep playing volleyball.

"They were really on board with me playing multiple sports and they even came out and watched a few of my volleyball games," Hooper said. "They were really supportive of me."

Hooper's dedication came to fruition in her senior campaign during the past school year. She helped both the volleyball and softball teams win Pacific League championships, as well as snap long-standing title droughts in the process. In addition, she proved to be a leader for her Bulldogs teams and enjoyed success in both sports.

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