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April 13, 2006

Chris Hanners’ years at Ohio State have not been easy. There have been ups and there have been downs. He started his five-year career with the Buckeyes with great promise, making 22 appearances and starting three games. His sophomore season went much the same way, but during his junior year an injury to his left shoulder – his pitching arm – altered the Groveport, Ohio, native’s plans. He has spent the last three years, one as a medical redshirt, battling the plaguing shoulder injury. He has never dwelled, though. He took it upon himself to grow from the injury. And from that growth, he has never looked back.

What are your plans after graduation?
“Actually, I have a job lined up. I plan on jumping right into the real world, I guess you could call it. It’s a financial job that deals with sales. I think, like a lot of athletes, I’m an outgoing and that sales is just something that works well.”

What do you imagine you will miss most following your final season with the team?
“I think, obviously, all the guys I’ve spent the last five years of my life with. Not just on the baseball field, but off it as well. I won’t be able see them on a day-to-day basis like I do now. I’ll also miss baseball. It’s something I’ve done since I was 4 years old and all of a sudden having it just come to a stop is going to be difficult.”

You have been having trouble with injuries the past few seasons, can you explain what happened?
“My first couple years here I played on a regular basis. I was fortunate enough not get redshirted as a freshman. I hurt my arm in the very beginning of my junior year, and we didn’t come to conclusion I would need surgery until after my junior year started. Everyone expected a good recovery, but it has been two years since I had the surgery. The hardest part has been accepting where you were at one point and that no matter how much work you put in, you’re not going to be where you where at that one point. It’s been emotional, but you have to accept it and start moving on and keep working at it.” Since you have not had regular playing time, what do you do to help the team?
“I’m trying to do anything I can, on and off the field. I like going to practice and talking to people – helping people out. I’m an older guy, so I don’t want to be that mean old man to my teammates. I think the guys just look at me as one of their friends and someone to go to. I think I can give them constructive criticism and advice. I try to relate to them.”

How has your role changed with the coaches in the past few seasons?
“When you’re playing, I think the coaches have a different relationship with you than when you are injured. When you’re younger you have a different relationship with them as well. You have to know your role on team. There are guys like me that have to know their role because they are not playing. The coaches and I have talked many times and we all know what my outlook is. They always let me know that even though I’m not playing guys are still looking up to me and I need to be there.”

Is there anyone on the team you’ve become particularly close to?
“I would definitely say Kris Moorman. He’s been my roommate the past three years. We’ve been on the field together everyday and off the field together everyday. Kris and I have become good buddies. When you live with someone you just get closer. He’s had some back injuries, so we’ve both been through similar situations where you don’t know if you’re going on trips because don’t know if healthy enough that week. In fact, some weeks I would be healthy and go on the trip and the next week I wouldn’t be healthy and he’d go in my place. We’ve dealt with it well and I think we’re closer because of it.”

When you review the last few seasons, how do you think you’ll remember them?
“A lot of people think that maybe I’ll have some regrets. They want to know why I stuck it out with 20 hours of practice each week instead of going and getting a job and making some money. That has never been my attitude. I came into Ohio State with different outlook than I have now. I wanted to play professional baseball, but things have changed and I’ve grown from that. I’ve done better in school and I’m focused on more important things. I have a never-say-die attitude, though, and I never quit anything. I still do everything the same as the rest of the team, with practice or games. I understand you can only play sports so long and I knew after my injury my baseball career would come to close after college, but it had been so long since I’ve played it, I didn’t want to quit now. I’d rather stick with it as long as I can. I would never go back and trade it for the world, even knowing I wouldn’t play. It was always a goal to come play for Ohio State and I’ve been fortunate to do some amazing things and so I’m grateful for my time here.”

Is there anything you’d like to add since this is your final season?
“I’d really like to thank my parents, Jann and Steve, and my girlfriend, Katie. They have been there for me through everything, especially the last few years when things haven’t been always easy. They were always there for me when my head was hanging and they kept me up and made it better. So, thanks for everything.”