Favorite athlete: Usaine Bolt
Favorite team: Eagles
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: When we were playing world cup in field hockey and my teammate got her four front teeth knocked out.
Music on mobile device: Rap
Future plans: Attend Liberty University and play lacrosse
Words to live by: “Work smarter not harder.”
One goal before turning 30: Do a pull-up
One thing people don’t know about me: I broke my tailbone hanging the top of my stick on a goal cage.
By Mary Jane Souder
Randi Hess has the right idea when it comes to competing in sports.
Listening to her coaches tell it, the Souderton senior finds joy – or creates it – whenever she steps on the field.
“Randi has an intensity, which is good, but she wants to have fun,” Souderton lacrosse coach Nancy Offner said. “She wants to enjoy her teammates, and she wants to enjoy the experience regardless of the outcome.
“Watching Randi play, you can feel the enjoyment she gets out of it, and when she’s on the sidelines, she’s also very encouraging, very vocal for her teammates.”
“Randi was the energy of the team, the positive vibe,” Souderton field hockey coach Sue Casciato said. “She was the person that did the team cheer before games, she was the cheerleader on the field. She’s very happy, and she always has a smile.”
Don’t be fooled by the perpetual smile or the happy disposition, Hess is a competitor. Casciato recalls her hockey team’s game at North Penn late in the season last fall.
“She was really sick before the game, and I kept saying, ‘Are you sure you can play?’” the Indians’ coach said. “She didn’t even warm up, she just laid on the bleachers.
“She ended up having a huge game. She had two goals (including the game-winner in a 4-1 win). She rose to the occasion and played great.”
Lacrosse is the sport of choice for Hess, who will take her talents to Liberty University, and the senior midfielder elevated her game this season, finishing with 42 goals after scoring just 16 a year earlier.
“We had 10 seniors last year, and she sort of hung back and let the seniors do their thing,” Offner said. “This year we were just really happy that she came out and played the way we knew she could play and was the leader on the field we knew she could be.”
Hess was elected a captain by her teammates and helped lead an Indian squad that – despite the loss of a large senior class – advanced to the District 1 3A Tournament.
“She was definitely a key part of the team doing well,” Offner said. “We really needed a couple of players to step up and be the leaders because all of our leaders from last year graduated. She really took that to heart and did it both on and off the field and did it well.”
Hess came by her love of sports honestly. Both of her parents – Rick and Sue Hess – were excellent athletes, and older brother Sam was an all-district volleyball player at Souderton. Randi has been competing in sports for as long as she can remember, trying just about all of them. She began with swimming and soccer, briefly tried gymnastics, softball and basketball and found her sports of choice in track, field hockey and lacrosse.
“I did the other sports mostly because my friends were playing them,” Hess said. “I stuck with the sports that I did because those were the sports I actually enjoyed playing.”
In track, Hess competed in sprints and jumps. Her father, who was the jumps coach, was understandably disappointed when she opted to walk away from the sport.
“He was sad, but I realized it wasn’t something I was going to do in the future,” she said.
Field hockey and lacrosse stuck, although Hess admits she wasn’t convinced either would when she was first introduced to them.
“Those were the sports my mom played in college, so she wanted me to try them out,” she said. “They weren’t really the sports that a lot of my friends were doing so I didn’t really like them that much at first.
“They had a lot of technique, which I was not very good at, so I started getting frustrated, but I kept playing. As I got older, I realized there’s more to the game than who’s playing (on your team) and that kind of stuff.”
As for how lacrosse became her sport of choice, Hess explains.
“At first, it wasn’t really my love for lacrosse that made me want to do it,” she said. “It was just that I wasn’t having much success in track, and I was looking for something else to put my efforts towards. That’s when I started focusing on lacrosse and really liking it.”
Field hockey might not have been her number one sport, but Hess – a four-year varsity player in both hockey and lacrosse - has nothing but fond memories of her senior season that saw the Indians compile a 17-5 record under first-year coach Casciato after winning just eight games one year earlier.
“Last year I feel like we didn’t really mesh super well,” Hess said. “This year was kind of a fresh start because we had Lauren Kenah and other freshmen on the team, so it was kind of like a whole new team dynamic, and I just feel as though we really wanted to be close, and we were always joking around.
“We really did have so much fun at all of our practices, and we became so close. Any differences of people who were freshmen or transferring in – that stuff really didn’t matter this year because we were really like a family. I think that made a huge difference because it didn’t matter who was up there, it didn’t matter who scored the goal. Everyone wanted the team to win and was all in for the success of our team.”
Casciato credited Hess for her role in the team’s successful season.
“Even though hockey is not her primary sport and we probably had more skilled players, she’s obviously just a dominant physical presence with her size and speed, and she’s a super gifted athlete,” the Indians’ coach said. “There were definitely games where she had a key play – came up with a tip or just played with a ton of energy.
“No matter how things are going, she’s definitely the person cheering, and she is the energy on the field.”
Energy is a word that Offner also uses when she talks about her senior captain.
“We just saw the energy she can bring to the field both in practice and in games,” the Indians’ coach said.
Offner went on to recall a Saturday practice early in the season when the team competed in a power-finesse drill.
“She was the most vocal and cheering more than I had ever seen from her,” the Indians’ coach said. “I think it was actually a turning point for her. It was early in the season, and she really took on a leadership role and got everyone hyped up.
“She always had it. It just wasn’t as vocal and evident. She kept up the energy level the rest of the season. I think she’s matured a lot in the last two years as a person and as a player and as a teammate.”
Hess walks away with fond memories of a senior season that exceeded the expectations of just about everyone.
“Going into the season, everyone was pretty worried because we’d graduated 10 seniors and that was pretty much our whole starting lineup,” she said. “So there was a lot of talk from a lot of people that we weren’t going to be good this year.
“I think when we actually started getting our offense together and forming who was playing together, I think we really started to click and have a very successful season that people weren’t really expecting from us.”
A first team all-league midfielder, Hess considered Drexel, Mercer and Bryant, but Liberty felt like the perfect fit.
“Going down and meeting the coaches and players and just seeing how much the school values their athletes and seeing how the team connects – I just felt as though I could see myself playing there,” she said.
An excellent student, Hess plans to major in education with a minor in special education, pointing to her father, who is the athletic director at Indian Crest, as her inspiration for pursuing a career in education.
“Just seeing my dad and his job – I can see myself doing that and having fun doing that,” Hess said.
Her minor in special education reflects an interest that was sparked by a class called Partners.
“It’s with special needs students and you’re doing schoolwork with them,” Hess said. “I worked with a wide variety of different students, and I built a lot of friendships. It was just something I was really passionate about and really enjoyed doing.”
Hess is a member of the National Honor Society, Souderton’s Athletic Leadership Council, Link Crew and student government.
She points to the friends she made along the way as the thing she will remember most about her years competing in high school sports.
“In such a big school, sports made me feel like I had my own group of people I knew well,” Hess said. “And what I’ll remember most about my high school athletic career are the students and coaches I was surrounded by.
“They shaped my overall high school experience into a very positive one. I made friendships here that I know will last a lifetime.”
Best of all, she had fun doing it and made it more enjoyable for others as well.
“She’s just a great all-around kid,” Offner said. “She comes from a great family, and she’s going to do great things at Liberty.”