Strong finish: Hanson caps career on high note
If there’s been a volleyball match involving the Blue Jays or Jimmies the last half-decade or so, there’s a good chance Alex Hanson was involved.
After earning all-state honors as a senior at Jamestown High School in 2009, she went from blue and white to black and orange. It took a few years to make a major impact for the Jimmies, but she went out in style this season.
The 6-foot hitter had more than double the number of kills this season as she’d had in the previous two combined, finishing with 193 this year for the Jimmies, whose season likely ended Saturday with another conference championship.
Hanson, a bio-chemistry major, said the years have gone by in a blur, but there’s much to look back on fondly.
“I have memories to last a lifetime,” she said. “There are so many positives to remember going back through the years. I feel fortunate for everything that happened.”
Hanson, and fellow seniors Sarah Becker, Kelsey Deragisch and Sarah Didychuk, left a major impact on the program. In the last four years, the combined record of the team is 96-44, and a sparkling 33-4 inside the Hanson Center.
“The expectations are very high here. I think when you’re a player here, you’re trying to live up to the past and trying to make sure you do your part,” Hanson said.
She did this season.
Hanson finished with 193 kills, 66 blocks (six solos) and 45 digs, although she was holding out hope that it’s not over.
Despite their sparkling 26-8 record, the Jimmies’ chances of an at-large bid into the national tournament are slim. Since the North Star Athletic Association only has five teams, one short of having an automatic bid into nationals, securing an at-large spot required being ranked in the NAIA top 25 poll.
The Jimmies received votes in the poll for most of the season, but inexplicably have not been getting votes in recent rankings despite not having lost since Oct. 18.
“We’re going to keep practicing and hoping for the best,” Hanson said.
Hanson hasn’t felt any extra pressure being a former Blue Jay playing for the Jimmies. Fellow JHS grad Niki Schmitz earned a varsity spot this season and Siri Jystad is seasoning on the JV.
“I never thought about it like that. I just looked at it like my family is close and I knew a lot of people on campus,” she said. “It’s gone by very fast. To think that this is the end of my senior year. … Yeah, it goes really quick.”
But there are many highlights to look back on even if it’s over.
“I was just happy to be a part of the team,” she said. “There were so many good times and that’s something I’ll always be able to think back on and be thankful for.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org