Senior Hailey Merrill rocks the court and the field

Matt Dulas, staff writer

With varsity athletics at Edina High School being so competitive, it is rare to see an athlete that not only participates, but excels in two sports.  Zephyrus interviewed all-state soccer captain, and basketball player Hailey Merrill to see what it means to be an elite multi-sport athlete.

Q: What position do you play in soccer and in basketball?

A: In soccer I play really every position, but usually center midfield.  In basketball I play a wing or post.

Q: When did you first start playing basketball and soccer?

A: I’ve played soccer ever since I could walk my dad has been rolling a soccer ball at my feet, but I started playing on a real team when I was six.  I started playing basketball in 4th grade on a house league team.

Q: Are there any similarities between soccer and basketball?

A: I definitely think playing soccer has helped me in basketball and vice versa. I think that both sports require good footwork and an ability to see the whole field or court.

Q: Do you prefer one sport over the other? If so why?

A: If I had to choose one, I would prefer soccer over basketball, just because I’ve grown up playing soccer and my family is a “soccer family.”  (Everyone in her family either plays or has played soccer.)

Q: How do you prepare for a game (pre-game rituals)?

A: I try to stay loose and relaxed before games so I usually sing or dance and make a fool out of myself.  I also usually drink a blue Gatorade and eat a PB & J Uncrustable before every game, and I always have a special handshake that I do with one of my teammates.

Q: What is your favorite song to listen to before a game and why?

A: For Soccer “Lets Go” by Calvin Harris because my soccer coach was obsessed with it, and decided it was going to be our team’s “official song,” and because we always listened to it right before we played.  For Basketball “ Bring ‘Em Out” by T.I. because for the past 3 seasons we’ve walked out to that song at every home game.

Q: What is your favorite team to play and why?

A: Eden Prairie, because for both sports they’re in our conference and our section so its always an important game to win, and because they’re always good and we usually match up pretty evenly, so it’s always a close, exciting game.

Q: What is your favorite athletic memory?

A: One of my favorite athletic memories is when our basketball team made it to the state tournament last year.  It was really fun being able to play at the Target Center, and we got to miss like a whole week of school to hangout as a team, play basketball, and eat food that the high school paid for.  Also, we got to end our season on a win!

Q: What athletic achievement are you most proud of and why?

A: One of my proudest athletic achievements is the when I was recruited and committed to Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois.  I had given up a lot of time practicing and traveling with my various soccer teams as I worked towards playing college soccer, so I was proud that I finally achieved what I had worked so long for.

Q: What is a little known fact about yourself?

A: My Dad is from England, and because of that I got to go the Olympics this past summer!