Between playing pivotal roles on both the Wilmington College women’s basketball and softball teams, junior Savannah Hooper developed an herbal medicine.
“It’s just plant extract with methanol,” said Hooper, granddaughter of Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame member Butch Hooper. “It tested effectively against E. coli and staff (infection), so that can be any type of infectious disease. It works against E. coli, staff, and those are just two types of bacteria you find in respiratory infections and stomach issues. It kills the bacteria.”
For 15 weeks, Hooper spent approximately seven hours a week in the lab with her mentor, assistant biology professor Savitha Krishna. It was plenty of trial and error, which Hooper said could be “frustrating” at times. But, when it was all said and done, Hooper had a medicine that worked.
“It was very exciting because all the time in the lab actually paid off. There are a lot of medicinal plants, so back when they didn’t have antibiotics, they used plant leaves. They would just place them on the wound,” said Hooper. “A lot of bacterias have become resistant to antibiotics and different types of medicine.”
Medicine and pharmaceuticals have always been an interest for Hooper and she plans on attending medical school following graduation.
A Wilmington High School graduate, Hooper maintains a 3.95 grade point average in biology at WC. She was a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-District selection in 2016 and earned academic honors from the NFCA. While her academic accomplishments are vast, she is garnering similar results in athletics.
The two-time Wilmington College Female Athlete of the Year was part of the reason the women’s basketball team advanced to the OAC championship game for the first time since 2010.
In the win over Baldwin Wallace in the OAC semifinals, she keyed a run late in the first half with back-to-back three-pointers that enabled WC to transform a 10-point deficit into a three-point lead.
She was third on the team with 8.8 points per game and third in the OAC in three-point shooting – converting 39.9 percent of her attempts.
On the heels of her first complete basketball season — she missed her sophomore season with an injury and played sparingly as a freshman — Hooper took a week off and went immediately into softball season.
As impactful as her basketball season went, she was on a different level on the diamond. Hooper earned first team all-OAC honors after leading the league with 26 stolen bases. She was the team leader in both runs scored (23) and hits (38), while also leading the team with a .325 batting average.
“Well (playing two seasons) has its ups and downs for sure, but this year has been the most different,” said Hooper. “Different sports require a different intensity level, but it happened so fast, I felt like I was just in one long season.”
Even someone that has experienced success in two sports is still trying to figure out an effective off-season regimen.
“I actually have been battling with this the past two years,” said Hooper. “I never knew how to take the off-season approach. Do I do basketball one week and softball the next and just alternate? But what I do, I focus a lot on weight training and agility and speed.”
As Hooper prepares for her final season for her hometown Fightin’ Quakers, you won’t find her getting caught up in her statistics.
“I have learned that if you set goals correlating with numbers you will not be happy,” said Hooper. “Once you reach your goal number it is always ‘Well I can do a lot better’. You know sometimes those numbers are kinda unrealistic too. I just want to come out of here knowing I played my best each and every single quarter, game and knowing I gave everything I can on the field and the court and doing the best I can for my coaches and teammates, then I will be happy.”