Hill offers advice to current student-athletes

Bremerton grad Jacki Hill, who named the 2008 Bremerton Patriot Student-Athlete of the Year, runs the 400-meter race during a 2008 track meet at Bremerton High School. - Photo courtesy of Lance McCoy
Bremerton grad Jacki Hill, who named the 2008 Bremerton Patriot Student-Athlete of the Year, runs the 400-meter race during a 2008 track meet at Bremerton High School.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Lance McCoy

A year ago this month, Jacki Hill flipped the tassel on her Knight cap, turning from the warmth of Bremerton High School to the unknown that is post-high school life.

Hill, who graduated with a 3.94 grade point average, was a three-sport star for the Bremerton athletics program, playing basketball and soccer and running track. Her academic and athletic endeavors helped her earn a scholarship to Washington State University where she is a member of the Cougars track and field team. They also were enough to make her the Bremerton Patriot’s 2008 Student-Athlete of the Year.

In Bremerton for the summer, with one lap of college complete and three remaining, the BHS grad reflects on her high school days, shedding light on what it means to be a student-athlete.

The Bremerton Patriot is taking nominations for the 2008-09 Student-Athlete of the Year through June 22. Candidates should not only be strong on the field, but in the classroom and around the community as well. E-mail your nominees to or call Wesley Remmer at (360) 308-9161.

Q: What do you remember most about your high school sports experience?

A: I remember how fun it was. I loved all of my teammates and I really enjoyed playing with them year after year. I also remember the excitement of my first seasons, my first varsity games, my first goals or baskets and the excitement that followed throughout the years. I definitely remember the joy of winning.

Q: You were a three-sport star in high school. How did playing basketball and soccer help prepare you for college track and field?

A: Being a three-sport athlete in high school caused me to be active all school year, which made the transition into college easier. I was ready to train for a longer period of time than I did for Bremerton track and field. Soccer and basketball also helped me become a better competitor. They taught me that it’s important to strengthen my own abilities and to trust my teammates.

Q: What’s been the most difficult aspect of transitioning from high school to college?

A: The amount of time and level of commitment. In high school, about two hours of my day were dedicated to the sport I was in. Now, not only is my practice longer, but the rest of my day is also devoted to track. What I eat, how I spend my leisure time, the amount of sleep I get and even my class times are all important and relevant to my track life.

Q: What are you enjoying most about college?

A: The freedom! And the change. I love being able to govern my own life and set my own rules. I really enjoy the college atmosphere. I especially love my friends and teammates. Of course, I miss my family, but I really enjoy being away from home.

Q: The least?

A: Not having any money. I love to buy clothes and shoes, but I have to limit myself while at school.

Q: How are you enjoying life away from Bremerton?

A: I miss the water! And the green trees and the lakes and believe it or not, the rain. I don’t necessarily enjoy the climate of Eastern Washington. But other than that, I love Pullman. It’s a great college town and I’m enjoying having my own place.

Q: How does college-level track and field compare to that of high school?

A: Much higher. I now have teammates who are faster than me. In high school I was always the fastest girl up until state. Now I get beat in competition every day. It’s definitely a change, but it’s something that motivates me and strengthens me.

Q: What events are you running?

A: My main event is the 400-meter race, but I also run the 200 and participate in the women’s 4x4 relay.

Q: Other than track, what are you doing to stay active?

A: Not that much actually. I train for track Monday through Friday and use the weekend to recuperate. If I didn’t, I don’t think I could make it through the week. I don’t play basketball or soccer during track season because of the risk of injury. Occasionally I would go to the recreation center and swim in the pool or play ping pong, but that’s about it. And I have been learning how to play some video games ... but I don’t think those are really keeping my active.

Q: How about in the classroom? Compare college academia to that of high school. What are the differences? How did your time at Bremerton prepare you for college?

A: Thus far, I have done well in my classes. I am currently interested in math and science, so most of my courses have been centered on those subjects. I took Advanced Placement courses in high school, which helped me prepare for college. I think the major difference I find from high school to college is I’m not required to go to class or do homework. It takes a lot of self-governing and motivation to succeed.

Q: What’s your major? Or have you decided?

A: I haven’t quite yet decided. I do know I want to teach. I want to be a high school math or chemistry teacher. I just haven’t decided which one yet – it may be both.

Q: What do you think being a student-athlete in high school taught you?

A: It taught me how to manage my time. It’s important to find a balance so you can succeed in both school and sports. It also taught me the importance in being involved. My experience in high school would have been a lot different if I would have chosen to sit on the sidelines.

Q: How have you applied those lessons to life after high school?

A: In the same way. It’s essential that I remember the reason why I am going to college — to gain an education. It’s not to get away from home or party; it’s to learn and grow and create my future.

Q: What would you say to current high school students who are trying to juggle athletics with academics? What’s the key to balancing both?

A: Stick with it because it’s worth it. There are much harder things in life and what you take from this experience will prepare you for whatever comes next. If you choose one over the other now, you will continue to leave things out in the future. Find out what is important to you now. Instead of wasting time on the computer or in front of a television set, engage in athletics or schooling. By eliminating unnecessary substance, you will find more time to do the things you want.

Q: What are your plans for the summer?

A: First of all, to relax and have fun. My first year of school was intense and I’m enjoying the calmness of life now. And second of all, to make money! I currently have two jobs and I am enjoying the products of my labors.

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