Hegedus keeps her basketball dreams alive
This article is part of a continuing series on athletes who graduated from high schools or attended college in Clarion County.
By Nate Steis
For the CLARION NEWS
Karns City girls' basketball has been one of the top District 9 programs in recent years. The school has produced several college basketball players as of late and one of those players, Emily Hegedus, decided Clarion University gave her the best chance to succeed both academically and athletically.
Hegedus, the Gremlins' all-time leading scorer with 1,735 points, has found a home at Clarion, and she has contributed on the court from day one on campus.
Hegedus was a part of three-straight high school teams that found themselves in the District 9 title game. As a senior, she also led District 9 in scoring, averaging 25.7 points per game to go with 12.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 3.4 steals. Her standout play over her high school career found her on three All-District teams as well as earning an All-American award. It was evident that Hegedus was going to be a college basketball player for quite some time, but the decision was going to be where.
"I was recruited by many great schools, but I thought that Clarion was the best fit for me. Clarion is very close to my hometown, which was very important to me since I am so close to my family. My family never misses a game, so going to a school close to home is very convenient for them. I loved the team and coaches when I visited which was another important piece to me. I immediately felt like part of a family when coming to Clarion." Clarion University also allowed Hegedus to study a major she was passionate about which is education. She hopes to teach high school math and become a head basketball coach after he playing days are behind her.
Hegedus first began playing the game of basketball as a fourth grader at Butler Catholic School. She credits watching her older sister Annie play as a kid for inspiring her to at least give the sport a chance. Just two years later, Hegedus found herself on her first AAU basketball team, and she never stopped playing travel basketball until reaching the college level.
While many people deserve credit for helping her get to this point in her life, none deserve more credit than her family Hegedus admits. When speaking about her family, Hegedus said "My family gets all of the credit for molding me into the person I am today. I would not be who I am without them. In particular, my parents have pushed me to always work hard no matter what I am doing. My parents also taught me how to be caring. Caring for others is one of my most evident personality traits and that is all because my parents. In basketball, my dad has been my coach all my life up until college, so he has taught me everything I know and has shaped me into the player I am today."
Looking back on her career in basketball, Hegedus has two memories in particular she will always remember as her favorites. Scoring the school record breaking point as well as her 1,000th point in high school are two memories that mean the most to her. Her 1,000th point has much deeper meaning than meets the eye as Hegedus scored that special point on breast cancer awareness night at Karns City High School. When talking about that game and that moment, Hegedus said "I was lucky enough to accomplish this milestone at home, and during this time, my mother was battling breast cancer. It was incredible to be able to honor my mom on that night and score my 1,000th point for her."
So far in her college basketball career, Hegedus has appeared in 38 games; drawing 17 starts. In her freshman season, she averaged 5.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. As a freshman in one of the nations toughest Division II conferences in the country, that is a great way to begin a career, She is also off to a great individual start to her sophomore campaign; averaging 9.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game so far. She scored a collegiate career high 22 points this season against West Liberty; sinking nine of fourteen shots from the floor. She has also eclipsed double figures five times so far this season, and much of the season still remains.
In her college career, it is not far-fetched to think Emily Hegedus could join the 1,000 point club at Clarion University. As a freshman and sophomore, she has proven she can contribute in the PSAC which is one of the nation's premier Division II conferences. She has an opportunity to play high level college basketball close to home with her family supporting each game. She also is studying a major she is passionate about and has plans to be a positive role model to many young people. "I love the idea of giving back by educating kids and helping to shape them into great people," she said.