4 Downs with Colo­nial Heights ath­lete Haden Crow­der, a high school se­nior who has ex­celled as mul­ti­sport stand­out

The Progress-Index - - FRONT PAGE - By Nick Van­de­loecht Sports Ed­i­tor

COLO­NIAL HEIGHTS — Chances are good that if you’ve been to a Colo­nial Heights ath­letic event in the past cou­ple of years, you’ve seen Haden Crow­der com­pete.

In the fall, he’s an ex­plo­sive vol­ley­ball player. In the win­ter, he’s a steady bas­ket­ball player. And in the spring, Crow­der is a lead­ing force on his base­ball team.

And that’s not all. The stand­out ath­lete has taken on as many as five sports across the cal­en­dar. He would run cross coun­try events dur­ing the fall, and he also swam for the school last year, but won’t be able to this year be­cause he hurt his shoul­der.

On Wed­nes­day, Crow­der, who has been a con­sis­tent per­former on the bas­ket­ball team, helped his Colo­nials win their 2018-19 sea­son opener over Carver Academy, con­tribut­ing five points in the vic­tory.

Crow­der is com­ing off a mem­o­rable boys vol­ley­ball sea­son in which he served as both a scor­ing and emo­tional leader, laser­ing the fiery kills across the net on the air­borne at­tacks and un­leash­ing the cheer­ful out­bursts af­ter points to fur­ther pump up his team. He helped lead Colo­nial Heights Boys Vol­ley­ball to the 2018 state semi­fi­nals - the sec­ond time his team has gone in the last four years, and the first time it’s done sos­ince the Colo­nials’ state cham­pi­onship win­ning sea­son in 2015.

Af­ter bas­ket­ball, Crow­der will pre­pare for his fi­nal high school sea­son in base­ball — the sport he’s look­ing to play in col­lege. Crow­der has played cen­ter field and left field for the Colo­nials and bat­ted .446 as the lead­off hit­ter dur­ing his ju­nior sea­son. His plan is to at­tend and play for NCAA Di­vi­sion II Chowan Univer­sity.

Crow­der talked about how he got into base­ball, bas­ket­ball and vol­ley­ball, what drives him to play so many sports and the pregame rit­ual that’s fol­lowed him through­out his ath­letic ca­reer.

FIRST DOWN: What got you into each sport that you play? What got you

into base­ball? What got you into bas­ket­ball? What got you into vol­ley­ball?

Crow­der: Base­ball and bas­ket­ball, prob­a­bly my fam­ily just be­cause I’ve been play­ing it my whole life; since I can re­mem­ber, I’ve been play­ing base­ball and bas­ket­ball. And vol­ley­ball, ac­tu­ally, [Kristin] Janssen, our prin­ci­pal, and my mom talked me into com­ing to try­outs my sopho­more year. I ac­tu­ally didn’t want to try out. I wanted to play golf, but they talked me into it.

What’s been the big­gest x-fac­tor that’s kept you into each of those sports?

Crow­der: The team and the friends that come and sup­port. I just love do­ing it for them. I just love the sup­port from ev­ery­body.

SEC­OND DOWN: Play­ing mul­ti­ple sports like that, and of course you’ve also done cross coun­try and swim­ming... play­ing all those sports, first off: how do you make all the time for that?

Crow­der: I’m not re­ally sure. I know with swim­ming, [Colo­nial Heights Boys Bas­ket­ball head coach John Thomas Jr.] helped me a lot. He would let me leave prac­tice a cou­ple min­utes early to go to swim prac­tice. Thank­fully a lot of times, prac­tices aren’t at the same time and the games are on dif­fer­ent days, and also...if I did have a game, [my coaches] would let me skip prac­tice and go, or let me come late.

What’s driven you to just com­pete in so many dif­fer­ent things?

Crow­der: I guess I’m just built that way. I’ve grown up a com­pet­i­tive kid. Every­thing I do is com­pet­i­tive from school­work to just play­ing

games with my brother or all the sports I play.

Play­ing all those dif­fer­ent sports, what are like spe­cific ways that one sport’s helped an­other and vice versa?

Crow­der: Def­i­nitely mak­ing me more ath­letic all around. I know bas­ket­ball helps me with my en­durance, base­ball with my agility and re­ac­tion time and vol­ley­ball, be­ing able to jump higher.

THIRD DOWN: I have to ask about vol­ley­ball since the sea­son just ended: you’re al­ways one of those guys who are able to fly up to the net; what just made you be able to zero in on those kills and be able to high-point the ball so well?

Crow­der: I think my ex­pe­ri­ence...when­ever I needed to get a kill, I’d tell Grayson [An­drews], “If you can get it to me, get it to me.” Luck­ily, most of the time, he could get it to me, and I tried to make it hap­pen as much as pos­si­ble.

A lit­tle bit about base­ball com­ing up...what are some goals that you have for the up­com­ing sea­son…?

Crow­der: For the team, I’m ex­pect­ing us to try to make it to the re­gional cham­pi­onship...hope­fully we’ll win that and go on to states. Per­son­ally, I would love to be First Team All-State so I can say I did bet­ter than last year.

What are your strengths so far in base­ball and then af­ter that, what are things that you’re look­ing to im­prove on in base­ball?

Crow­der: Right now my strength is def­i­nitely my speed and be­ing able to be a con­tact hit­ter so I can out­run a slow roller in the in­field. Right now, I’m try­ing to work on more power, hit­ting it more in the gaps more of­ten, be­cause last year I only had one dou­ble on the sea­son. That’s what I’m try­ing to work on right now. For bas­ket­ball, [what are] strengths that you

have and [what are] the things you’re look­ing to work on…?

Crow­der: I’d say one of my strengths for bas­ket­ball is be­ing able to shoot; I’ve fo­cused on that my whole life. And then one thing I’m try­ing to im­prove is be­ing a bet­ter passer, and be­ing a bet­ter de­fender.

FOURTH DOWN: What’s like a pregame rit­ual or ac­tiv­ity that’s kind of fol­lowed you through­out your ath­letic ca­reer?

Crow­der: Go­ing to get some­thing to eat...I get Skit­tles and a soda be­fore ev­ery game.

TURNOVER ON DOWNS TO YOU: Out­side of sports...what’s like a fa­vorite ac­tiv­ity or hobby?

Crow­der: Spend­ing time with my friends and fam­ily. I love be­ing around peo­ple. It’s just great to be around them. That’s just all I like to do re­ally: sports and be­ing around peo­ple.


Colo­nial Heights mul­ti­sport stand­out Haden Crow­der.

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