Elk Mound’s Hailey Blaskowski has been in love with athletics since she was able to stand and walk on two feet.
The three-sport student-athlete can be found throughout the school year both on the court and diamond providing key roles in volleyball, basketball and softball. She said her love and passion for each game makes it tough to pin down which sport she enjoys most.
“I love all of the athletics that I participate in, and it is just too hard for me to decide,” she remarked.
Prior to her involvement in high school sports, Blaskowski dabbled in swimming, soccer, basketball and t-ball at a very young age.
“I fell in love with anything and everything that had to do with sports,” she said of her experiences as a youth. “Ever since then, that love and passion for athletics has increased and progressed immensely.”
A love for sports
Blaskowski’s passion for sports is all encompassing. From competitiveness to staying active, working with teammates both at practice and during games, she said nothing is more satisfying than seeing her hard work pay off.
And that work has proven to pay off for Blaskowski, having settled into a defensive specialist position on the varsity volleyball team this past season as a sophomore where she tallied 116 digs in 95 sets played. The Mounders finished the season with a 27-19 record, landing runner-up in the conference to Colfax and battling with Regis in the final where the season came to a close with a 3-1 loss.
Blaskowski said that the team and family atmosphere of volleyball drives not only her passion for the sport, but also how much skill and attention to detail it requires.
During the long winter months, Blaskowski keeps herself busy on the basketball court, where she took on the role as a shooting guard for the 2017-18 season. She played in all 24 games, collecting 2.7 points and two rebounds per game. While she was not one of the top scorers on the team, Blaskowski proved to be an indispensable asset for her teammates with 44 assists and 31 steals.
The Mounders went 18-6 on the season to finish third in the conference behind Durand and Colfax. They met with Durand in the regional final where the Panthers won a thrilling 56-47 matchup.
Blaskowski said she feels a sense of accomplishment in basketball due to all the hard work, dedication, physical demand and visible improvement the game demands.
As a freshman, Blaskowski earned her spot on the varsity softball team as an infielder, where she staked out at third base and also tested her hands as a catcher. She helped bring the Mounder team to an undefeated conference championship and a shot at the regional title.
This past season, Blaskowski put her name on the board with an honorable mention selection in the DSC All-Conference. Mainly taking care of third base duties, she tallied 15 putouts and had 33 assists in 16 games played for a fielding percentage of .906. At bat, she finished the season with a batting average of .431, connecting on hits 22 times for 18 singles, two doubles one triple and four RBIs. She held the highest BA on the team behind senior Allison Lindquist.
Blaskwoski expressed absolute joy for the game of softball, remarking that she relishes all aspects of the sport and the wide spectrum of skills one needs to be a good player. “I love how scrappy you have to be to make certain plays,” she said.
Blaskowski noted that her freshman year on the softball team was one of the best times she has had in her life.
“Everyone on the team had an extremely close bond and genuinely loved to hang out with each other,” she said. “The team was so supportive and demanded the best out of each other. We would also have fun singing our hearts out on the bus rides home from games and behind the dugout before games.”
While she has been collecting many positive memories on the field and court, Blaskowski has endured a number of injures that hindered her athletic endeavors. While none of her injuries have been too serious, she said they have been some of the biggest obstacles in her life she has had to overcome.
Blaskowski said injuries sustained in both her freshman and sophomore volleyball seasons were the most difficult to conquer. The wrist injury was diagnosed as a bone bruise and caused Blaskowski to sit out all of this past season’s playoff games.
“That frustrated me because I don’t usually let anything stop me from playing,” she said.
However, a thumb injury during her freshman volleyball season did not stop her from taking the court. “I had to tape up my thumb because it was bent backwards and was jammed badly to a point where I couldn’t move it that much. I pretty much just had to suck it up, ice, and be ready to play.”
Beyond high school
Perhaps Blaskowski’s early experiences with sports injuries has encouraged her to consider entering the field of sports medicine once she graduates. Her dream job entails either being an orthopedic doctor or a sports medicine doctor.
And she is already thinking about her post-high school plans which involves attending a four-year university to obtain a bachelor’s degree and then possibly attending medical school.
“I haven’t decided on a major yet, but my desired career field is Health Science,” she said.
Fittingly in the classroom, Blaskowski loves any courses related to science.
“I just find them to be so much more exciting,” she said. “Learning about different processes, how things came to be and how different things work really interests me. It’s also a difficult subject so it requires lots of thinking and hard work.”
Blaskowski is also highly involved in her school in ways other than athletics. She is part of E-Club (a co-curricular activity for letterwinners that help give back to the community), marching band, pep band and concert band, and is also on student council where she is the vice president of her class.
When not at school or participating in sports, Blaskowski spends her spare time supporting her sister Tori at basketball tournaments, helping her parents Adam and Jennifer with yard and house work, or simply just relaxing and being a teenager.
Blaskowski is also a big fan of the Green Bay Packers, particularly Aaron Rodgers, whom she says is her favorite professional athlete. As an athlete herself, she said she looks up to Rodgers for being a fierce competitor who is loyal, highly skilled and appreciates his team and fans.
She also had the opportunity to attend an NBA game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors at the Target Center.
“A memory that sticks out in my mind is how fun and upbeat the environment was and how the underdogs (Timberwolves) came on top over the 2017 NBA Champions.”
And many future memories will surely stick out for Blaskowski, who still has two full years as a Mounder athlete ahead of her. With plenty more to learn, Blaskowski said she will always follow the best advice she ever got from basketball coach Jordan Kongshaug: To leave every game knowing there was nothing more to give.