She’s locked and loaded to attend and play volleyball next season at the University of New Mexico, and Cleveland High senior setter Marian Hatch hopes “was a member of the 2023 high school 5A champions” gets added to her bio the Lobos will put into their media guide when she’s on campus.
She had the unique opportunity to play as an eighth-grader for Rio Rancho High School without ever becoming an RRHS student. The family moved before her freshman year, when she – big surprise, eh – made the Cleveland varsity.
She’s received District 1-5A Player of the Year honors twice and twice been an All-State first team at setter.
This season, in her final try to play for the blue trophy at the Rio Rancho Events Center, Hatch said the Storm’s motto is “I can and I will. Watch me.”
We know she can, and she is fun to watch.
So, how long has Marian Hatch been playing volleyball?
“I couldn’t tell you,” she replied after the Storm’s Aug. 29 sweep of visiting St. Pius X in the Thunderdome.
“Probably since I was, like, 7,” she answered, laughing at the memory.
“My mom plated at BYU but she was a libero, so a little bit different, but she got me into it,” Hatch explained. “It kinda just took off. I’ve just always loved it.”
And although she does have class work and homework, she finds time for her friends and family, but doesn’t take long to realize, “I feel like I play volleyball almost 24/7. When I do have time, I’m usually trying to rehab, study, watch some film, stuff like that.”
She said she’s had ankle injuries in the past, the most serious being as a freshman, but toughs it out.
“The biggest thing is just trying to run my offense and being a leader on the court,” she said, when asked for her job description.
“I always tell my younger setters, do everything you can to improve your mental game as well. Maybe that’s just being super-smart about who you’re setting and watching if the blockers are on the other side, and running your offense efficiently, but really getting super, super good in your mental game.”
How are her hands holding out? She was asked this because volleyball players slap teammates’ hands before matches, after points, during substitutions, awaiting the next serve, etc.
“We slap really hard, but I don’t even feel it anymore – I’m immune to it,” she said, laughing again.
She already has a good relationship with Lobos volleyball coach Jon Newman-Gonchar, hired in January 2019, the 10th head volleyball coach at UNM.
“I love Coach Jon – he’s like the one who got me locked in,” Hatch said. “I was kinda looking around for a while, figuring out where I wanted to go, and looking at some options, but after talking to him for a while – he’s just an amazing coach – and his coaching staff, they’re probably the best coaches I’ve seen.”
“I talked to some of the players, and they all love the program,” Hatch said of her Lobo future. “I think it fits my personality, like 100 percent, all the time.
“Coach Jon helped coach the (Team USA) national team,” she added. “I like that he’s super-organized.”
Former Storm (Class of 2021) teammate Arianna Jameson is on the UNM volleyball team; she’s a sophomore outside hitter for the Lobos.
She once had another “best” coach, Toby Manzanares at RRHS.
“I loved Manz, but then we transferred over here,” she said, knowing Manzanares is a New Mexico volleyball coaching legend.
In addition to her high school team, Hatch got plenty of off-season play with her club team, which went to a national tournament in Chicago.
“We did real good,” she said. Her club teammates included players from Eldorado, La Cueva and St. Michael’s.
There’s another Hatch wearing number 12 at Cleveland High: Storm quarterback Jordan Hatch, a sophomore.
“Twelve’s always been a Hatch number,” she said –at Cleveland High this fall that’s also attracting attention: starting quarterback Jordan Hatch, a Cleveland High sophomore.
“I’m so proud of him,” his big sister said. “He’s a little nervous, but he’s stepping up to the plate.”
Who’s a faster runner, she was asked, knowing Jordan would rather throw the ball than run—“He’s got an arm,” she noted.
“I think I could beat him in a race,” she said.
We may never know.