Claire Eiden can’t pick a favorite.
The girls Scholar Athlete of the Year on The Lima News Scholar Athlete team is involved in a very long list of school and community activities beyond sports.
And she says she loves every one of them.
The Ottawa-Glandorf senior has a 4.0 grade point average, was first-team All-Western Buckeye League in volleyball the last two seasons and third-team All-Ohio as a senior. She will join the University of Toledo’s volleyball team as a preferred walk-on next season.
She is involved with Big Brothers-Big Sisters, tutors at Sts. Peter and Paul school, volunteers at St. Rita’s Medical Center, volunteers at a soup kitchen and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is an officer in the Key Club and the O-G Crochet Club, belongs to other clubs and works at a nursing home.
“When I came into high school as a freshman all of our administrators told us, ‘Get involved, get involved. It’s good, it’s good, it’s good,’ ” Eiden said.
“At the time, I was like, ‘Yeah, I should get involved and meet a lot of people.’ I’m a social butterfly so that had my name written all over it. When I started volunteering in all those organizations, I fell in love with each and every one of them.
“Each of them are just unique and special and they hold a really dear spot in my heart,” she said.
Volleyball quickly became the No. 1 sport for Eiden, who also played soccer and basketball in elementary school.
“Volleyball was always my top, my No. 1,” she said. “My older sister played volleyball. She’s about five years older than I am so I kind of grew up watching her and being the little manager for her teams.
“My best friend, Taylor Alt, who is also playing with me at Toledo, and I grew up playing volleyball together. When we were in third grade we would go to the YMCA every night and play volleyball together,” she said.
Eiden was a four-year varsity player on some very successful O-G teams.
Last season, the Titans were 25-3 and regional runner-up to Liberty-Benton. Two seasons ago they were district runner-up to Liberty-Benton. In 2017, they lost to eventual state champion Coldwater in the district championship game and in 2016 they lost to another state champion, Parma Padua Franciscan, in a regional semifinal.
Eiden plays the libero position, an all-the-time back row defensive position. She had more than 1,000 digs in her career, which meant she spent a lot of timing diving for shots about to hit the floor or redirecting ones coming at her at a high rate of speed.
“The key to being a good libero is having a mindset that you can get to every ball. I like to think I have a lot of all-out effort. Even in practice I try to give it my 110 percent. You can’t be scared of floor burns and bruises. I’ve had bruised ribs because of volleyball. The goal of the game is to not let the ball touch the floor so I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that doesn’t happen,” she said.
Eiden’s long-term plans include medical school and becoming a doctor.
“I’ve always been super interested in medicine and I’m a very science-minded person. It all kind of came to fruition when I was volunteering at the hospital and job shadowing in surgeries. And I also work in a nursing home. I really enjoy that,” she said.
She chose the University of Toledo, which has a medical school, because of academics and college volleyball came later.
“At first, I wasn’t even planning on playing volleyball there. But I was dead set on going to Toledo so I thought why not shoot an email out to the coaches and have them come watch me for a couple of club tournaments. They did and the rest is history,” Eiden said.
Like it was in high school, her schedule in college will be full. Is there a secret to being organized and being skilled at time management?
“I have a planner that is pretty dear to me. I write everything down,” Eiden said.
The other scholar athletes on The Lima News Scholar Athlete team are: McKenna Bockrath (Kalida), Lauren Cisco (St. Marys), Nora Dellifield (Ada), Alyssa Ellerbrock (Columbus Grove), Kelsey Fischbach (Shawnee), Alexis Hoeffel (Continental), Hannah Holland (Kenton), Kristen Luersman (Fort Jennings), Ainsley Miller (Bath), Mary Kelly Mulcahy (Lima Central Catholic), Libby Schaadt (Bluffton), Brianna Schimmoeller (Ottawa-Glandorf), Paige Schneider (Wapakoneta), Kelsey Shaffer (Spencerville).
Brenton Brock (Bath), Chase Caprella (Lima Central Catholic), Ezra Deitering (Miller City), Luke Denecker (Bluffton), Caleb Dugan (Lima Senior), Luke Fackler (Kenton), Jon Frueh (Elida), Baylor Garmatter (Bluffton), Quentin Potempa (Lima Central Catholic), Clayton Recker (Ottawa-Glandorf), Evan Roebke (Kalida), Parker Schomaeker (Ottawa-Glandorf), Isaac Spar (Ada), Ethan Truex (Lima Central Catholic), Cole Williamson (Leipsic).
The Ohio State University-Lima will offer scholarship money, which can be used on the Lima campus, to the top 30 scholar athletes.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.