Athletic Spotlight: Nickie Hessney

In its October 13, 2003 edition, Sports Illustrated highlighted the achievement of one of the Catamounts own. The lovely and charismatic Nikkie Hessney was spotlighted in the “Faces in the Crowd” section. For those of you that have been living under a rock, this twenty year old recently broke the NCAA Division I record for a hat trick in women’s soccer. Her time of two minutes and twenty-two seconds blew away the previous record.

Nikkie is a political science/English major that has been playing soccer since she was seven years old. As captain of her High School team during her senior year in Victor, NY, she held several school records. These include most single season goals and most total career goals.

VC: In 2:22 you were able to pull off an amazing hat trick. How did you manage such a feat?

NH: It was the game against Stetson. At the half it was 0-0. Cassandra VanLeeuwen scored the first goal for us in the beginning of the second half. A little while after that, I was able to put a left foot slot past the goalkeeper. Then, I scored a second goal on a breakaway. I could hardly believe that I made the third goal. Kate Moran set me up with a volley from about 10 yards out. She is kind of my right hand man, I couldn’t of done it without her or the rest of my teammates.

VC: Was it a surprise when you found out that you were in Sports Illustrated?

NH: Actually, the Sports Director for my team called me and told me that she had submitted a piece on me to the magazine. It wasn’t a definate thing, but when I saw it in there I was pretty psyched about it.

VC: What would you say is the hardest part of being a student-athlete here at UVM?

NH: Time Management. I wake up at 7:00 am for my conditioning program, then go to class. After that I have to go to practice. Sometimes it feels like a full time job, but I enjoy it. To be honest, its really hard to be a collegiate athlete. Unless you are one, it is pretty hard to understand just how hectic it can actually be.

VC: What is your favorite part of playing soccer for the Catamounts?

NH: By far, my teammates. We have a wonderful squad and it is one of the major reasons I even chose to come here. I had visited a couple of times and I instantly felt comfortable around all of the other girls. They are all so great.

VC: What would you say was a strong point of the team this year? A weak point?

NH: A strong aspect of the team was our togetherness. We are all close and this shows on the field. We play together well as a result of our relationships off the field. As for a negative, our team did not realize its full potential. We finished 5-9-4, but should have done much better. We have a lot of potential; our program is strong. We just need to pull off the wins. No one likes to lose.

VC: What is the major goal for the team looking forward to next season?

NH: Making the playoffs. There is no doubt in my mind that we can make the playoffs next year. Besides that though, our goal is to finish the season with a winning history. I can’t wait till next year.

VC: If you were not playing soccer, what other sport could you see yourself playing?

NH: I love to play softball and basketball. The problem is that I am too small. If I was not playing soccer though, I definitely would be playing softball. I also really enjoy watching baseball. Go Yankees!

VC: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Would you ever consider soccer as a career? NH: Well, I’m not really sure what I want to do, so I have no clue what I will be doing in 10 years. I am planning on going to graduate school for law or journalism, but past that, I am not sure yet. As for soccer being a career, I really don’t think I am good enough or big enough. However, my father would love for me to make soccer my career. He actually drives to all of my games. I live a good six hours away from Burlington, but he makes the twelve hour trek no matter what.

VC: If you could change one thing about the athletic community here at UVM, what would it be?

NH: The lack of support for the teams. I would love to see more student involvement. The free admission policy for all students that they put in effect this year is a wonderful idea. I really think it is going to help develop school spirit here at UVM when it comes to athletics.

VC: Finally, as a political science major, how do you feel about the situation in Iraq?

NH: I actually had to do a 15 page paper for one of my classes on that. I was supposed to take a pro-war angle in the paper. Personally, I support the troops and feel that America should help set up a democracy and then leave Iraq. It may have been a drastic measure in our invading them, but I think that it was necessary for our safety. The problem is that people are all about morals, and many believed that what we did was immoral. Those that want to claim it was the moral thing to do should not argue in regards to our own safety. I mean come on, Saddam was horrible, how could we turn our backs on his brutality? Something had to be done.