Amare Hernandez’s life “turned upside down” in just a mere few hours.
All it took was a quick trip to Texas A&M in College Station.
Not long after, the senior outside hitter for McAllen (Texas) Memorial announced her verbal commitment to play with the Texas A&M Aggies.
Her previous plan was to stay close to home and play at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) in Edinburg, a neighboring city to McAllen and home of the Western Athletic Conference’s UTRGV Vaqueros.
“The timing was all crazy,” said Hernandez, who also plays for the Valley Venom club. “I was leaning more toward UTRGV and my head was there until I went to a camp at A&M and they noticed me,
“They asked me, ‘Where have you been hiding this whole time ’and from one day to the next my whole life changed.”
The 5-foot-11 hitter for the Mustangs and Venom has been pounding the ball for four years at the varsity level, being named last year’s Hitter of the Year in the Rio Grande Valley, home to more than 75 high schools from Brownsville and South Padre Island to Roma, Texas. This year, Hernandez is averaging 4.2 kills per set and is second on the team in digs (3.0/set) and serve receptions (336). While she is known as a terror offensively, she has prided herself on her defensive improvement, transitioning from a pin-hitter extraordinaire to a six-rotation player.
“Hard work pays off and I believe in God’s timing,” Hernandez said. “I trust in God’s plan and when this came to be, it hit me that it could be a possibility.”
Hernandez has a lifetime love for the Aggies. “Probably since I came out of the womb,” she said, only half-joking. Her father attended A&M, her grandfather works with the university and she has attended countless Aggie football games, very familiar with the Aggie traditions.
“I wasn’t planning to go to that camp,” Hernandez said. “But mom said go and visit your grandmother while you’re there. When I got there, I met coaches Jamie (Morrison, head coach) and Lindsey (Walton, associate head coach) and players. They told me they were still looking at some ’24s and suddenly I was like my goodness, is it real that I could be playing here?
“I’m telling you, my life transformed in one day and I’m so thankful.”