Jan. 19, 2004
Although Hannah Linquist is shy, she’s never been one to shy away from new experiences, whether it’s been playing sports, traveling to far away places with her basketball teams or training llamas. Yes llamas. When she was eight-years-old, Linquist joined a 4-H club in Black Mountain, N.C., where she learned how to train llamas.
“We trained and showed llamas,” Linquist said. “It’s like training a dog. You use repetition. We had obstacle courses where they had to go over jumps and through tunnels of water. We had halter classes which was based on the confirmation of the llamas and we had to learn how to set them up. We had showmanship in which the handler was judged on how well they showed the llamas and you had to present yourself in a nice manner.”
Linquist enjoyed it so much that her family bought two llamas when she was in seventh grade. It was not only a hobby for Linquist, it became a source of earning money. Her 4-H group was well-known around the llama community.
“We were the ones everyone wanted to beat,” Linquist said. “We were really good. If you placed high, you would win money.”
Since Linquist owned her own llamas, she could win the money for herself and won as much as $200 for one show. She continued to train the llamas until her junior year in high school, at which time, her basketball career really blossomed. In fact, in the summer following her junior year, Linquist was a member of the Junior Olympic team of North Carolina that won the junior nationals. The following summer, that squad was rewarded with a trip to Australia. So just a couple of weeks before Linquist began her collegiate career at Florida State, she experienced her first trip down under. She, and her teammates, were in Australia for two weeks and played four games.
“That trip was awesome,” Linquist said. “We went to Sydney and got to go to the Opera House. It was just unbelievable that we were actually there. We played Australia’s Olympic team twice and they were really good. We also played one game against a high school team and one against a college team, so we got to experience every level. We went swimming in the Great Barrier Reef, we went snorkeling and got to go down in a real submarine. We went to the zoos and got to see kangaroos. It was a really neat experience.”
Linquist has gotten the opportunity to experience a lot of neat things because of basketball. The sport itself actually started as a new experience for her too as she began playing softball when she was seven-years-old and didn’t playing basketball until she was in the sixth grade. But that was just the beginning.
“I never thought basketball would take me this far,” she said. “I thought I would play in middle school and high school and that would be it, but luckily I had the opportunity to play AAU basketball and that is where I got most of my exposure.”
Although life has exposed her to many new and interesting things, Linquist, a sports management major, still considers herself shy, but she’s come a long way.
“I get nervous sometimes when I’m talking to people,” she said. “I’m not shy around the team at all. When I first got here, I was, but I’ve opened up to the team a lot. I was from a very small school, so when I first came here, I felt like I got thrown into this big world. Since I’ve been here, I’ve experienced a lot and have met a lot of new people. I feel a lot more comfortable now. Traveling with the team and getting to go to all the neat places that I’ve never been before, like L.A. and Phoenix, has been fun.”