Harper staying involved at Alvernia College

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  • Jennifer Harper

VERNON — Before graduting Vernon Township High School and captain of the Lady Vikings girls lacross team, Jenna Harper advised her younger to get involved and participation will only make their high school experience better.

Now, she is following her words as a sophomore defender for the Alvernia University Lady Crusaders lacrosse team.

Staying involved has never been a problem for Harper. At Vernon Township High School, she served her alma mater and classmates as class president and Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) treasurer. Now, the three-sport — lacrosse, volleyball, and soccer — high school stand-out, the occupational therapy major serves on Alvernia’s Student Activities Board.

“Jenna’s best qualities are that she is a very caring person and she knows how to manage her time,” said Colleen Swezy, assistant to the Vernon High School athletic director. “She could play sports, she could be involved in extra-curricular activities, and she could still do well in school. Even now when she visits from college, she always works at the snack bar during games to support the athletic department.”

Sussex County is still home to Harper's family. While her brother, Matt Harper is a senior and a varsity cross-country runner at Vernon Township High School, her older sister, Marissa Harper, is a senior athletic trainer for Quinnipiac University’s varsity men’s hockey team.

A lacrosse player starting in middle school, Harper was a part of the formula that made the Vernon Lady Vikings lacrosse team a New Jersey “Top 20” program by her junior year.

She credits her coach, Steve Carlson, for some of her personal and athletic success both at the high school and college levels,

“He was a tough coach, but a player will only be as good as she can be if a coach pushes," Harper said. "He and I had a similar philosophy: if you work hard, good things will happen.”

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