By Madeline Lloyd
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Baylor center midfielder Hanna Gilmore has been both a leader and contributor on the Bears women's soccer team since her 2009 freshman season. She has proven that success is attainable with persistent dedication and an unyielding faith.
The Spring, Texas, senior has started 67 of 75 games during her Baylor career. Gilmore has been ranked among the team's top three for total goals and assists every season. She tied for the team lead her sophomore year with seven goals, a career high.
Although Gilmore played forward during her high school career, associate head coach Paul Jobson felt compelled to switch her to center midfielder.
"She was a forward," Jobson said. "She was a goal scorer, a scrappy goal scorer. It seemed that anything that was in the box she was going to clean up and put in the back of the net. I remember recruiting her and thinking, 'Man, this kid is going to do some great stuff for us.'"
Jobson made the right call. A change in positions can either make or break a player, and it only made Gilmore stronger.
"Some kids step to the challenge and some kids crumble," Jobson said. "Hanna stepped to it. Her class was our first recruiting class, and those kids came in believing in what this program could be. The only thing they had seen in the past was a Baylor program that had struggled. Hanna believed in what we were bringing and she bought into it. She's been a difference-maker. That entire class has been the turning point for the success of Baylor soccer."
According to Jobson, Gilmore is a self-motivated player that has her own routine. Unlike her younger teammates, the veteran does not require much attention. She knows what she needs to do in order to mentally and physically prepare for games.
Dallas, Texas, senior Carlie Davis, who has known Gilmore since high school, shared one of Gilmore's pregame rituals.
"She has a bible verse that she writes on her hand before every game," said Davis. "She's gotten the chance to share with the team about it a couple of times. She's been doing it since freshman year, so she's been really consistent."
Gilmore has written Romans 5:3-5 on her wrist before every game of her college career. Although she has changed the verse a few times, she repeatedly chooses this one because of its relevance to what she experiences on the field.
"It talks about having perseverance and character," Gilmore said, "and how these different things lead to other things. If you persevere through something, you develop your character. When your character is developed, you always have hope. Hope never disappoints."
Gilmore bases all of her athletic success on her Christian faith. God consistently gives her the strength to practice, compete and play to the best of her ability.
"Spiritually, my walk with the Lord is the only thing that gets me through a game and through practices," said Gilmore. "God is bigger than anything we could go through. People fight for their lives every single day, so the least we could do is fight for our team and for the game. This makes us stronger."
Gilmore's faith constantly provides her team with hope and encouragement. She represents not only a brilliant athlete, but an admirable role model as well.
"She has encouraged me so much to be consistent and to be faithful," said Davis. "If you ask anybody they will tell you that Hanna is the heart and soul of the team. Without her, there is not nearly as much laughter or leadership. She's the glue that holds us together."
According to Jobson, leadership is Hanna's strongest skill. The team feeds off her positive energy and driven mentality, whether it's in a training session or in a game. She gives her all into everything she does. Gilmore lives Romans 5:3-5 by persevering on a daily basis.
Whether she's on the field or recovering at home, Hanna Gilmore exudes confidence and humility. She has matured as a player over the years and has learned to accept every challenge life throws her way. With a mentality like this, the possibilities of what she can do for the Baylor women's soccer team are endless.