Former Goshen four-sport athlete Staci Hicks is now starring for the Tusculum College women’s basketball team and as the senior prepares for a post-season run, her impact is still being felt around Clermont County.
“Staci was, in my opinion, one of the most gifted female athletes we’ve ever had at Goshen,” Goshen athletic director Mark Slagle said. “If you look at her record, she was Runner of the Year in cross country, she was Player of the Year in soccer and Player of the Year in basketball.
“She was exactly what you wanted out of a student-athlete. She worked hard and conducted herself properly. She was all about her teammates and often shied away from individual publicity.”
While at Goshen, Hicks was a letter-winner in basketball, soccer, cross country and track and field. She excelled in all four sports, but basketball resulted in the most acclaim from around the region.
She was named an All-Southwest Ohio selection, a member of the Ohio-Kentucky All-Star Team, a member of the East-West All-Star Team as well as Southern Buckeye Conference Player of the Year. During her senior season, Hicks averaged 19.6 points per game and 11.3 rebounds, which netted her an All-State Honorable Mention.
Hicks graduated from Goshen in 2008 to travel to Greeneville, Tenn. to pursue an education in physical therapy and continue her basketball career at Tusculum College.
While at Tusculum, Hicks has continued to enjoy athletic and academic success.
“If anyone asks me what my biggest sports moment would be, it would have to be the (Southeast) Regional Championship (in 2010),” Hicks said. “I’ve never won anything like that before. It meant a lot to me and to everyone on the team and was a great experience. “
Hicks is a 6-foot-1 forward for the Lady Pioneers. A four-year starter, Hicks helped Tusculum to a 25-6 record her freshman year while averaging five points and 3.2 rebounds per game en route to a South Atlantic Conference Tournament Championship.
During her sophomore season, Hicks started all 30 games she played in averaging 7.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and Tusculum won a second-consecutive SAC Tournament title. It was during this 23-10 campaign that Hicks and Lady Pioneers advanced to the Elite Eight of the Division II NCAA Tournament.
“Going to the Elite Eight was one of my favorite memories,” Hicks said. “The whole experience was different than anything I have experienced and it was awesome to play in that game.”
Coming off an Elite Eight appearance, Hicks and her teammates went 21-9, but bowed out of the NCAA Tournament in the second round after falling in the SAC Tournament Championship game.
Now in her final year of eligibility, Hicks is second on the team in scoring and rebounding, posting 12.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
The Lady Pioneers are currently 15-7 with four games left on their regular-season schedule.
“Our program is all about winning championships,” Hicks said of her teams’ goals for the rest of the season. “We’re trying to grow and improve. I think if we stick together – we’ve lost some people to injuries – we know we can win the rest of the regular season games and hopefully make another tournament run.”
Hicks said she keeps in contact with how the Goshen teams are doing mainly through her family and Dave Mason, the current Goshen varsity girls coach and her old AAU coach.
“I was fortunate enough to coach her the spring and summer of her freshman year,” Mason said. “She had unbelievable raw talent, a great athlete, but most importantly she is a tremendous kid. The kind of kid every coach dreams of coaching.”
With basketball consuming most of her time, Hicks stays in Tennessee year-round with the exception of a 10-day break around the holidays and some time in the summer.
“When I leave to come back (to Tusculum), I miss my family, but when I’m home I miss the girls (on the team),” Hicks said. “The basketball is nonstop here, so when I do get a chance to come home, it’s a nice break.”
Hicks should finish up her undergraduate degree in physical therapy this summer and she plans on going to graduate school to finish her studies.
“I’m looking to go farther south, but I’m not exactly sure where yet,” Hicks said. “I’m looking at Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, those kind of places.”
Hicks, the daughter of Malea Hicks and the late Charles Hicks, will be honored on Senior Day on February 25 when the Lady Pioneers take on Mars Hill at 2 p.m.