PROVO — Jennifer Hamson is a two-sport college athlete from Lindon. At 6 feet 7 inches tall, she has earned All-American honors in volleyball at BYU and will lead the women's basketball team into Saturday's second round game of the WNIT against San Diego State.
Jennifer's mother, Tresa Spaulding Hamson, also 6 feet 7 inches tall, was a four-time All-American at BYU in the mid-'80s and still holds school records for field goal percentage and blocked shots. She is also No. 2 in career points and rebounds.
But Jennifer, a typical teenager, avoided picking up a basketball, mostly because everybody was hoping she would. Eventually, as the ninth grade approached, her stubbornness succumbed to her friends.
"We were gathering around, we were talking, and my friends were like, ‘Let's try out for the basketball team," Jennifer said.
"I thought it would be so fun, and I was like, 'Oh, OK,'" she said. "And they are like, ‘You should definitely try out, you're so tall. You know it would be perfect.'"
She tried it and loved it.
Over the next few years Jennifer kept growing, and during those trying teenage years she was literally head and shoulders above all the other girls.
"I think there are lots of upsides," Jennifer said of her height. "There are obviously advantages in sports."
But what about the challenges?
"You have to watch your head, duck places," Jennifer said. "Finding pants and clothes can be difficult, but the Internet definitely helped out with that."
What about a social life? Are there very many guys who are 6 feet 7 inches tall on campus?
"Honestly, it's hard to find them," Jennifer said. "I never really see them that often; but yeah, that's definitely something I look for."
Another challenge for Jennifer in rugged sports like volleyball and basketball is being "too nice."
"I definitely couldn't find that line of ‘nice and aggressive' and you know, you need a little swag. You need a little aggression to be good," Jennifer said. "So I definitely have worked on that, and I think I'm slowly overcoming it."
One challenge BYU has is there is only so much of Jennifer to go around. While she was away leading the volleyball team to the Sweet 16, her basketball team lost four early season games by an average of six points. Those losses factored into the Cougars missing out on the NCAA Tournament.
Still, for Jennifer Hamson, who twice has been named to the West Coast Conference All-Academic team, having another year to play both sports is dream come true.