By Ray Hamill — After everything she has had to endure since graduating St. Bernard’s in 2017, Makenna Schoenhofer has one goal in mind this year.
She’s determined to enjoy the moment.
“I think my goal is just really getting the most out of it,” she said from Seattle University on Saturday as she continues her preparation for the upcoming collegiate basketball season. “With COVID-19 happening and our season cut short (last year) it shows anything can happen at any time. You only get to play college basketball once in your life.”
COVID-19 has been the least of the challenges and adversity Schoenhofer has had to overcome along the way, and this fall she will tip off the season fully healthy for just the first time since her senior year in high school.
After being recruited by the Redwhawks — with former HSU coaches Joddie and Skip Gleason on the Seattle staff — a series of injuries and misdiagnoses sidelined Schoenhofer for two years before she underwent surgery and finally returned to the court last winter.
“My life kind of changed because of it,” Schoenhofer said. “It was a whole ordeal, just trying to get answers and being misdiagnosed. I’ve definitely grown because of it and I learned a lot about myself.”
The former Crusader played in 15 games for the Redhawks last season, including a season-high 15 minutes against Chicago State in early January.
She admits it took time to readjust and it didn’t help matters when she suffered a concussion on her first day back.
“It was hard,” she said. “It wasn’t the same at first. I still had some lingering pain, and it took about a full (season) to get back to normal.”
The good news for the 5-10 guard is that she is fully healthy again and back practicing with her team for the past month.
This past week the NCAA announced that the Division-I season will tip off in late November, and that means Schoenhofer and the Redhawks should get to play almost their entire season.
Practice, she says, has been tough with the COVID-19 restrictions in place, with the players being tested regularly and practicing in small groups of four or five.
“It’s been challenging,” she said. “But we’re just glad we’re able to get back out there.”
The Fortuna native spent much of the spring and summer back in Humboldt County working out on her own as much as possible.
“Really, all of us were just trying to do the best possible,” she said.
She said she choose Seattle in large part because Skip Gleason reached out to her and invited her up for a visit, and was immediately sold when she met head coach Suzy Barcomb.
Fond memories of SB
Schoenhofer added that she has fond memories of her time at St. Bernard’s.
“When I think of St. Bernard’s, it brings a smile to my face because I enjoyed that school so much,” she said. “I made great friends there and it’s just a great school. Some of my best memories are from St. Bernard’s. The faculty and staff care so much and they still reach out to me.”
The school appreciated Schoenhofer just as much.
“We had a good program and Makenna made us a great program,” SB head coach Matt Tomlin said. “She took us to another level, just her competitiveness, her athleticism and her desire to win”
Schoenhofer and her teammates won three straight North Coast Section championships during her time with the team.
“She made all the players around her better,” Tomlin added.
Academically, Schoenhofer is a college senior this year and will graduate, but it will be just her sophomore season on the court and she admits she does not know yet whether she will continue to play after this season.
“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” she said.
For now, she’s just looking forward to the new season and eager to enjoy the moment as much as she can.
“I have been faced with a lot of adversity, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing,” she said. “Everything happens for a reason.”