Idaho State volleyball head coach Sammi Stuart has announced the signing of Bella Ipsen, Hunter Thomas and Sadie Gardner for the 2020 season.
Bella Ipsen, 6’1, MB, Boise, Idaho
Ipsen comes to Pocatello from her hometown of Boise where she will be graduating from Centennial High School. The 6-foot-1 middle blocker has been celebrated for her athletic achievements as she earned first-team all-conference honors and was named to the conference’s all-star team. Her athleticism took her beyond the volleyball court as she also competed in basketball and track.
“We are excited to get Bella in our gym,” Stuart said. “She is a local student-athlete who will be a great asset to our middle blocker core.”
As the varsity co-captain, Ipsen was admired for more than just her athletic ability. She was named to the honor roll all four years while also making time to volunteer with the JDRF Association, a nonprofit organization that funds Type 1 diabetes research.
“I chose Idaho State because of the athletic and academic opportunities,” Ipsen said. “The coaching staff was also a deciding factor in my decision to come to ISU.”
Ipsen plans to major in exercise science.
Hunter Thomas, 6’1, OH, Lakewood, Calif.
Thomas will join ISU this fall after graduating from Richard Gahr High School in Lakewood, California. As a 6-foot-1 outsider hitter, Thomas has been an unstoppable force earning three-consecutive all-league honors (2017-2019).
“Hunter is going to be a great fit for us at Idaho State,” Stuart said. “We are excited to see what she will be able to accomplish during her four years at Idaho State.”
Her work ethic expands beyond the court as she was enrolled in four advanced placement classes in high school while also taking two honors classes.
“I chose Idaho State because the campus felt like a home away from home,” Thomas said. “It was very important to me to select a college that made me feel at home, keeping in mind that I would be away from home for the first time in my life. I feel that the girls on the team were very welcoming and made me feel very comfortable in a new environment. The coaches also played a big part in my decision as I trust coach stuart and (assistant) coach (Robert) Berrett and have an immense amount of confidence that they will help me become the best athlete I can be.”
Thomas plans to major in criminal justice.
“Academically, Idaho State meets all of my requirements and offers my major,” Thomas said. “I am excited about being a Bengal and am looking forward to helping contribute to the success of the women’s volleyball team.”
Sadie Gardner, 5’10, OH, Vernal, Utah
Gardner comes to Idaho State as a transfer from Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, Washington, where she competed for two years. During her time at Edmonds CC, the 5-foot-10 outside hitter made a name for herself as she earned All-American honors, All-Academic honors, and made the Northwest Athletic Conference all-star team.
“Sadie is going to add some much-needed experience to our outside hitter core,” Stuart said. “She will be a great addition and we look forward to seeing what she can do.”
The Vernal, Utah, native plans to study dietetics.
“I chose Idaho State because I felt at home,” Gardner said. “They have just what I’m looking for.”