Avery Hibbs is heading to her dream school Lynn University, but she’ll miss her family in team.
In some ways, it was the easiest decision she ever made.
In other ways, it was the most difficult one she ever made.
Avery Hibbs, a senior at St. Hubert High School, has always wanted to play softball down South. And when she first visited Lynn University in Boca Raton, she realized she wanted to go there, not only because it offered everything she wanted in a school, but because she fell in love with the softball program, too.
And they wanted her.
“I really want to be a marine biologist, and while they don’t offer that at the school, I could major in biology and get my master’s in marine biology,” Hibbs said. “I loved everything about it. The school is great, it’s on the beach, so I can do things with marine biology.
“I didn’t meet anyone on the softball team, but I loved the coaches. They are very motherly, they created such a family atmosphere. The weather is great, too, I’ll never have to practice indoors again, I guess if it rains, but that’s just a day. But I really loved the family atmosphere. That’s what I loved the best.”
Family atmosphere is very important to Hibbs, and that’s why heading south will be so difficult for her.
Hibbs is close with her entire family, but she has a special bond with her sister, Alana. The 22-year-old has Down syndrome. They’re not only best friends, Alana is her sidekick and even alarm clock.
You could say she’s her everything.
“Every morning, she comes in my room and yells, ‘Avery!’ ” Hibbs said. “I’m going to miss her so much. She is my only sibling who lives at home and we do everything together.
“I know we’re going to stay in touch, I’ll talk to her every day, but it won’t be the same. We won’t be able to cook together or watch movies together. We do everything together, so I’m sad about that. But I’ll be home on break and I know they’ll come down to see me a lot. It will just be hard to be away from her.”
Now, Hibbs is just enjoying her time at home, and she’s also having a great time wrapping up her career as a Bambi.
Last year, the second baseman helped guide Hubert to a second-place finish in Catholic League play. She also helped the team advance to the Catholic League championship, and then win the 6A city championship.
While Hibbs played a huge role in those achievements, she’s having an even better season this year. And as she improves, so have the Bambies.
After starting out the season 4–4, Hubert has gone on a four-game winning streak to grab fifth place in the balanced Catholic League. That means the Bambies will have a chance to get back to the championship game. Their playoff journey begins Wednesday when they travel to Archbishop Wood for a quarterfinal game.
“We weren’t playing too well in the beginning of the year, but we are doing very good now,” Hibbs said. “I think we just needed to do what we do best, play as a team. When we started doing that, we started playing much better.”
This year, Hibbs is playing even better than last year, when she was one of the better players on the team.
“I feel I’m hitting a lot better this year, I thought that was something I needed to do better in,” Hibbs said. “I also think my glove has gotten better. I always tried to be good on defense, and I think I’m getting better there.”
Her glove was one of the reasons she was courted by Lynn. It also helped that the team shares the same values she does.
“I really think I’m going to like it there because the coaches told me they wanted me and really made me feel welcomed,” Hibbs said. “I felt right at home as soon as I got there. The only thing I don’t love about it is the distance. I’m really close with my family and that will be a tough transition.”
Before she goes, she’ll soak up as much family time as she can.
That’s something both she and her big sister will enjoy.
“We have all summer and we’ll spend a lot of time together,” said Hibbs, who is also a member of Athletes Helping Athletes, which pairs high school athletes with special-needs teens. “Every morning, the first thing I’ll see is her. And when I get home, we spend all our time together. She’s so important to me and I’m really going to miss her, but I know no matter where we are, we’ll always be best friends.
“She’s getting a little sad about it, so I want to spend as much time as I can with her. That’s my plan for the summer.”