Throughout her career, Hillary Klimowicz ’09 has garnered numerous accolades for her athleticism, dedication, and leadership. Her most recent accomplishment is being named the 2009 State Farm/Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association Division III Player of the Year, a first for a TCNJ women’s basketball player and New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) athlete.
Klimowicz has dedicated herself to her sport, working diligently to improve her game. The fact that the award came this year made it all the more meaningful.
“Personally, after the end of last season where I fell short of being named an All-American, I cracked down on myself during the summer a little bit,” said Klimowicz. “I asked myself whether or not an All-American would stop short of that extra mile every day I worked out, and [as a result] I really saw an improvement in my confidence and demeanor on the court this year.”
“The award means a lot to me because I worked so hard for it, and not just last summer,” continued Klimowicz. “Just like every collegiate player, I’m sure, I gave up pretty much all my summers to AAU basketball, my springs to training, and my autumns to pre-season workouts. It really does feel good to be recognized for all the time and effort I put into the sport.”
While the Player of the Year award is an individual honor, this team player was quick to acknowledge the work of her teammates for helping her achieve it.
“Although the award means a great deal to me personally, I think that it is also a testament to how dedicated the team was this year in general to winning and being successful,” said Klimowicz. “I was able to receive this award because they looked to me and did such a great job of setting me up to be successful.”
Klimowicz’s journey to gaining this honor started when she transferred from St. Joseph’s University, a Division I school, to TCNJ. Some might call the talented athlete’s decision crazy, but the senior center feels otherwise.
“I realized that I had made the right decision,” Klimowicz said about giving up her Division I scholarship to play at TCNJ—a decision that earned her a spot on the March 5, 2007 Sports Illustrated cover and a profile within that magazine.
“I am very competitive and I love basketball, but it is also only a part of my life,” she said. “The NCAA Basketball Tournament commercials state there are 380,000 student-athletes and just about every one of them will go pro in something other than sports. I believe that understanding that is important.”
Klimowicz gave up the scholarship in search of a more well rounded undergraduate experience, and TCNJ supplied her with just that. She is a psychology major, with double minors in women’s and gender studies and sociology. When she’s not in class, she works as a student athletic trainer, takes piano lessons, and is a member of the community-service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega.
With graduation fast approaching, Klimowicz said she is interested in attending graduate school and possibly playing basketball overseas for a year. After all her schooling is completed, she sees careers as a coach and/or a child psychologist as options.
If she works as hard as she has on and off the basketball court in her future endeavors, she’s sure to succeed and garner more awards in whatever she chooses to do.