Madison Horin has made a lot of memories over the last six years since moving from Chicago to Munster when she was getting ready to enter seventh grade.
There were new friendships, college visits, two international trips where she represented the United States in volleyball tournaments and a pair of sectional championships.
Horin added some more memories this month, as last week she officially signed her letter of intent with USC. The senior outside hitter is set to graduate from Munster in December and will enroll at USC in January. She is scheduled to begin playing volleyball for the Trojans next fall.
Horin is The Times Volleyball Player of the Year, capping off a high school career that began when she worked her way into the starting lineup as a freshman. Horin led the Mustangs with 310 kills, 70 aces and 88 blocks this season and was generally regarded as the best outside hitter in Northwest Indiana.
Five things to know about Madison Horin
1. Horin lived in Beverly community area on the South Side of Chicago until she was about to begin seventh grade. Her family moved to Munster and Horin quickly fell in love with her new surroundings.
"Being the oldest of four kids, sending us to Mother McCauley or Marist was not ideal," she said. "We saw that Munster was an ideal school. We didn't even know about athletics at that point. It's a good school and the taxes are cheaper."
2. While volleyball takes up a lot of Horin's time, there's far more to her than just being on the court.
"My family emphasized being well-rounded at a young age. Music was always a big part of my life. I played the saxophone in my band at elementary school. I played piano a lot too when I was younger."
3. Horin's interests have evolved as she's gotten older and she's now the go-to person for hats and scarves among her friends at Munster.
"I crochet a lot and I love to knit. I have lots of friends that want hats and scarves, so I spent earlier today just knitting and listening to music. I'm surrounded by hats right now. I also love doing hair for prom or homecoming. I love doing makeup and it's something I was considering doing in college because USC has such a great film school."
4. Horin missed a bulk of her junior season when she was named part of Team USA for the 2017 U18 World Championship that took place in Rosario and Santa Fe, Argentina.
Horin was named captain of the squad that finished in eighth place.
5. Horin got her revenge on the international stage over the summer when she won a gold medal with the U.S. Women's Junior National Volleyball team in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Horin was once again named the team captain and helped lead the United States in a sweep over the Dominican Republic in the NORCECA Women's U20 Continental Championship.
Five questions with Madison Horin
Q: Reflecting back on your four years at Munster, what stands out the most?
A: The last four years have been about growth. I've grown as a volleyball player, I've grown emotionally and I've grown mentally. Being on varsity as a freshman is a pretty big step up from middle school and I played alongside some great players. Mentally, volleyball is a game of mistakes. It's easy to get in your own head and dwell on those, but you have to remember that no one plays a perfect game in volleyball. I've learned to go with the flow and manage things as they come.
Q: Why volleyball?
A: My mom was really pushing for me to do club volleyball, but I loved playing basketball. Volleyball, at a younger age, was really just about passing, but basketball was all these different techniques. I was stubborn and my mom really had to push me to do volleyball. I was 11 when I got into the gym and, one or two practices into that club season, I was hooked. I started looking forward to volleyball practices far more than I looked forward to other practices. Volleyball gets me out of bed in the morning.
Q: How did you settle on USC?
A: I get asked this question all the time. In seventh grade, I was starting to get letters and I had to decide what I wanted in a school. Did I want somewhere close, somewhere far, somewhere religious. I finally decided that I wanted a place where their athletics and academics were equally strong. Secondly, I wanted to go somewhere warm. My freshman year I went to visits at Northwestern, Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State and USC. USC was my final visit and I just got that vibe. I was being super critical of USC because it was the first week in December and I was wearing a shirt and shorts. I didn't want it to just be because of the weather. Everything just clicked. When I was on the plane ride home, I just wanted to run off the plane and run back to campus. I was ready to go to USC then and I'm ready to go to USC now.
Q: What will be your major at USC?
A: I'm undecided right now, but I'm looking to be a part of sports psychology. I'd love to be a mental health advocate and spend some time spreading awareness of mental health to the rest of the world. I've also looked at athletic training. I've had the best athletic trainers in the world at Munster.
Q: What does it mean to be the Times Volleyball Player of the Year?
A: I can't put it into words. It means so much. Moving here from Chicago and just how inviting everyone in this area has been for me and my family. It just means so much to me. Any opportunity that I'm given to be a role model to younger kids or younger volleyball players is something I embrace. I had so many people that I looked up to and I can't imagine being that for someone else. I'm very thankful when the community recognizes hard work and I feel so special being singled out when there are so many great and talented volleyball players in the area.