Kodiak’s 6-foot-2 senior center signed her National Letter of Intent to play women’s basketball for the Seawolves on Thursday in front of friends and family at Kodiak High School.
Her mother and father, Jenny and Dayton, joined her at the signing table and when their daughter set the pen down the crowd of about 20 erupted.
“It is a little nerve-wracking just knowing that I am fully dedicated, but it is also relieving knowing where I am going to go and who I am going to play for,” Wandersee said. “It is definitely exciting because I am going to be playing for my home state and a lot of my family and everyone here will get to watch.”
The decision to go to UAA came within the last month. Wandersee had applied to attend the school, but only as a back-up plan.
UAA became her first option when Seawolves coach Ryan McCarthy approached her after Kodiak capped a perfect 27-0 season in Mid-March at the state tournament in Anchorage.
“Once he got in contact with me and told me about the team and I got to go check it out my mind completely changed,” Wandersee said.
She toured the UAA campus, including the new sports complex, and knew it was the perfect fit.
“I really liked everything that I saw about UAA and their program is really good,” she said. “It is going to be exciting.”
UAA is an NCAA Division II program that competes in the Great Northwest Athletic Association. The Seawovles went 19-9 last season and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.
Wandersee was a four-year varsity starter for Kodiak and finished with 1,117 career points. She is only the fourth player in program history to eclipse 1,000 points. She earned a first-team all-state selection this season and was a two-time first-team Northern Lights Conference honoree.
“Hannah is very smart and is a hard worker,” Kodiak coach Amy Fogle said. “I hope to see success from her.”
This was Fogle’s first season coaching Wandersee, who had three different varsity coaches during her time in Kodiak.
“I was much more impressed with her once she stepped on the floor,” Fogle said. “She started to use her inside game more.”
Wandersee never envisioned playing in college.
“I didn’t even know if I would make the team in high school, but it turned out good,” she said.
Wandersee was an athlete at an early age, starting out in ballet and eventually finding her home on the hardwood.
“I was figuring she would end up playing basketball in college,” her mother said. “I am just honored that she is playing at UAA. It is such a great fit.”
Wandersee’s father, Dayton, was at a loss for words after the ceremony.
“It is unbelievable,” he said. “I don’t even know how to explain it.”
Kodiak athletes have had success at UAA, most recently with Alysa Horn. Horn scored more than 1,000 career points and was part of a Seawolves Elite Eight team before graduating in 2013. She just finished her first season of professional basketball in Germany.
Wandersee borrowed a green UAA sweater from Horn for the signing.
“I asked her a couple of questions about the coach and how she liked it,” Wandersee said. “She really liked it and I will probably talk to her more, though.”
Wandersee, who has a grade point average of 3.98, plans to explore the exercise science field at UAA. She will receive a mixture of athletic and academic scholarships.
Wandersee was also a star volleyball player for Kodiak and was considering playing volleyball in college, but will focus on basketball at the next level.
“I was looking for that, but I didn’t get many offers,” she said. “This is just a great offer and a great opportunity, so I seized it.”
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at email@example.com.