Athlete of the Week-Jaci Winchell.jpg

Cannon Falls senior Jaci Winchell is this week's Cannon Falls Beacon Athlete of the Week. Winchell and her teammates has Bomber volleyball off to a terrific start to the season. Photo courtesy of Jaci Winchell

Cannon Falls senior Jaci Winchell considers her role on the volleyball court to be like a quarterback as the Bomber offense flows through her. Winchell and her teammates have helped the Bomber volleyball team start 10-1, including a championship at the Wally Wakefield Invitational in North St. Paul, and they are ranked No. 3 in Class AA behind Southwest Christian and Watertown-Mayer.

Winchell talks about volleyball, school and life below:

Q: You’re back playing in front of fans and the student section for your senior year, what has that been like? Did it take some getting used to after playing in empty gyms last fall?

JW: It is the best feeling in the world to have all of these incredible fans and our student section cheering us on throughout all of our games. To be honest, I wouldn’t say I ever had to get used to them all being there again because it just feels normal! My team and I would also like to thank all of our amazing fans, especially our student section. We like to say that they are the best in the HVL!

Q: Coach Huseth talked about the switch in offenses this season, what has that been like? Has it changed your role at all?

JW: I would not say my role has been changed with the new offense because I have always been and always will be the leader. I am the setter, just like a quarterback. A captain. I help lift everyone up and keep the team positive. The new rotation is working really well for us. It allows us to have two of our taller girls (Madi Burr and Halle Hustad) up in the front row together, both as a threat defensively and offensively.

Q: Do you have any goals for your senior year?

JW: I have many goals for this being my final year playing for Cannon Falls Volleyball but here are a couple: My biggest one would be winning a state championship! Also, I would love to reach 2,000 assists or even better yet: break the school record for career assists, which is currently 2,045 career assists set by Hailey Huseth (2016 graduate, Coach Huseth’s daughter).

Q: Did you pick up any new/weird/cool hobbies or interests during lockdown?

JW: Quarantine was pretty boring at most times if I have to be honest, but spending time with my family was by far the best part. It was just like taking a big, long break from all sports and activities and laying low, relaxing, and enjoying the time we actually had together. I would also go for long walks on the Cannon Valley Trail to the dam or go rollerblading around my neighborhood whenever I was bored. I was able to bake and cook more with all of the spare time I was given. Lastly, because I had a break from sports and activities, I got to focus more on working out, like lifting, cardio, abs, etc.

Q: Homecoming is this week, what do you look forward to the most? Favorite part of the week?

JW: I love Homecoming so much! I am pleased to be a part of the Homecoming Court and so excited for Coronation. Normally, the football game is what I look forward to most, but there was a conflict with scheduling and our volleyball team has a tournament at the Midwest Warehouse in Burnsville Friday night and Saturday. Hopefully, we will make it back for the Homecoming Dance though. My birthday is also during Homecoming week (22nd) and it will make the week so much more fun! Lastly, I love all of the activities we get to do and of course the Pep Fest!

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