JACKSON -- Hailey Handevidt is involved in just about everything worthwhile at Jackson County Central High School. But it will be her involvement in something else next year at college that has some people scratching their heads.
Although JCC doesn’t have a varsity swim program, Handevidt -- who participates in volleyball, gymnastics and track and field for the Huskies -- signed a national letter of intent in November to swim for Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D.
She will be the first swimmer from JCC to compete collegiately.
You might wonder how she ever found the time to practice often enough to become college material. Besides her sports activities, Handevidt is an officer for the FFA chapter at JCC. She’s in school musical, and the choir, and she’s the student council president and a member of the National Honor Society.
Her love of swimming began early. She used to go swimming on Wednesday mornings, then she added Mondays to her swim schedule. She went on to compete in club swimming in Mankato, and swam three times a week -- once in Mankato and twice in Jackson (the high school has its own pool). It has been difficult to find enough time for swimming during the gymnastics season, but Hailey hopes to catch up in the summer.
In college, Handevidt plans to study history education. She’s a legitimate history buff, enjoying books on history (American history, especially) as well as all the television documentaries she can find.
For the rest of the winter, she’ll do what she can to help JCC reach its potential in gymnastics. She has competed in the sport since she was old enough to do a flip.
Her favorite event is the balance beam. Some of her teammates call her “the beam queen.”
The Globe took in a gymnastics practice at the high school recently and peppered the versatile senior with questions about swimming, gym, history, etc., etc. You can go online to see the video at www.dglobe.com. Here’s a sampling of the interview:
QUESTION: How does it make you feel to be the first swimmer from Jackson County Central High School to compete at the college level?
ANSWER: “Being the first swimmer from Jackson County, it makes me proud to know that we can do things outside of school activities and still achieve what we want to at a collegiate level. … At Augustana I plan to swim in the sprints and the butterfly. Those have always been my strong suits.”
QUESTION: How long have you been a gymnast, and how have you improved over the years?
ANSWER: “I have been a gymnast since I was 3 years old. My mom (Tammy) was my coach until seventh-grade year, and I’ve just progressed since then.”
QUESTION: What’s your best gymnastics event?
ANSWER: “My best and my favorite event is beam. It’s something I feel confident on, it’s something that I’ve really excelled at over the years.”
QUESTION: Have you got a favorite sports memory?
ANSWER: “Something that has really stuck with me was sections my freshman year. We were at Fairmont High School and it was very intense. We were very close to Worthington, it was either us or them going to state. In our beam round I was third, and the two girls before me had fallen many times -- and you cannot have that because you can only count four scores. So I was next. I had to stick my beam routine, and the pressure was real. I was only a freshman on varsity beam, and I stuck my routine. And not only did I stick my routine, I went to state for beam as well.”