From a small town in central Oregon to a farm in central Nevada, this three-sport athlete is making the best of everything she can. Tonopah High School senior Hannah Dowers has a lot on her plate when it comes to life.
Dowers was born in the small town of Madras, Oregon, about three hours southeast of Portland. Her family relocated to Tonopah when she was just one year old.
They own a ranch just outside of town, where they raise various animals, including a large herd of cattle, some chickens, a horse and a couple of dogs.
“I feel like it’s helped me with life skills,” Dowers said of growing up on a ranch. “Being able to be responsible for something and being able to take that into the real world.”
Dowers has played volleyball, basketball and softball every year that she’s been at Tonopah High School.
It all started in sixth grade when Dowers and her best friend got to talking one day and decided they wanted to play volleyball. She’d never played before but was able to make the A-team in middle school.
When she moved to the high school level, Dowers made the varsity team her freshman season.
“I was pretty nervous at first,” Dowers said. “You had all these seniors and you were scared, if you messed up they were gonna be hard on you and get mad. You were just always scared that you were gonna let them down, you had to work extra hard. And I think that’s what helped the most, I always felt the pressure on me so I had to work for it.”
Dowers’ confidence began to grow through the season. She became closer with her teammates and she was getting more playing time.
As a senior, Dowers and the rest of her volleyball team won the 1A Central league title in thrilling fashion this year over Pahranagat Valley. The team had swept them during the regular season.
“It was so amazing,” Dowers said of winning the league championship. “The support from our town, we got a big parade, it felt really good. It was hard. We had to work really hard and when we finally beat them, it felt like everything was on our side and we were on top of the world.”
This was Tonopah’s first league championship since the 2012 season when they defeated Pahranagat Valley 3-0.
Unfortunately, this season didn’t end the way the Muckers would have liked it to end. They would go on to play in the state tournament but then lose in the second round to Green Valley Christian School.
Following the volleyball season, it was time for Dowers to lace up her shoes and hit the basketball court.
Just like softball, Dowers has played on varsity for the Muckers since her freshman year.
Right before the season during her freshman year, Dowers contemplated not even playing. She didn’t think she was good enough – and she hates doing something when she isn’t good at it.
However, she went out for the team anyway and started to get better the more she played. Eventually, Dowers enjoyed playing basketball and her confidence, along with her playing ability, continued to grow.
“Basically, it was just that all my friends were doing it,” Dowers said of her introduction to basketball. “In middle school, it was rough because I was really tall and I didn’t know how my body worked yet, so I didn’t like it. But once I got to high school, it got a lot better.”
Dowers didn’t really have any professional athletes that she looked up to when she began playing basketball. Her role models were the seniors on her team that helped everyone who was younger and less talented get better. Dowers knew that she would one day be in their shoes and need to help her peers become better basketball players.
“Mainly, positivity,” Dowers said of what she has taught the younger players. “If you’re not positive about the sport, it’s not gonna help how you play. When I was younger, I wasn’t very positive and that’s why I didn’t do good, so I told them that it’s mainly positivity and attitude is what helps tremendously.”
Head coach Jill Katzenbach has been Dowers’ coach for the majority of her basketball playing time. Over the years, Katzenbach has helped Dowers through tough days on the court by not letting her get too down or beat herself up too much on a bad day.
Dowers said that coach Katzenbach has always been there for her. Whenever Dowers wants to work on anything to better her game, she feels like she can reach out to her coach at any time and coach Katzenbach is more than willing to find a time in practice where Hannah can work on that particular area of her game.
Currently, the Muckers are looking at a 3-6 record for the season. Dowers said there needs to be a little more team bonding to improve.
“Right now, we have only sophomores and seniors,” Dowers said. “The different ages, we just need to know them better so that we can work on the court better.”
Following the basketball season, Dowers will end her Tonopah sports career by playing softball for the Muckers in the spring.
In her free time, Dowers likes to adventure up into the hills in Tonopah and drive around to see what’s out there.
After high school, Dowers plans to attend cosmetology school for hair design. After doing hair for a few years, Dowers plans to hopefully return to the ranch and take over for her parents. She hopes to eventually start a family of her own on the ranch.
The Tonopah girls basketball team returns to action on Friday, Jan. 7, when they host Lund High School to open up league play. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.