Senior Spotlight: Kasey Jackson

Kasey Jackson defends an opponent's shot.
Kasey Jackson defends an opponent's shot.

Hazleton, Pa. - Kasey Jackson from Sinking Spring, Pa. finished up her second season in a Nittany Lion uniform this fall as a member of the Hazleton women's soccer program. Jackson transferred to Penn State following a two-year stint at Mansfield University and made an immediate impact as one of the team's top defensive players in the fall of 2018. Jackson helped the Lions reach the conference finals for the first time in program history, adding one goal, two assists and five defensive shut-out wins along the way. Her stellar effort on the field would earn her the recognition of being named 1st Team All-Conference in the Penn State University Athletic Conference.

Jackson returned with enthusiasm for her senior season last fall but would be forced to the sidelines in the pre-season due to injury. Kasey remained vested with the program as she moved into a new role. She assisted teammates and coaches at practices and games throughout the season and would earn one last ceremonious start in the squad's final regular season game before wrapping up her career on the field. Despite missing time on the field, Jackson proved to be an invaluable member of the team, helping the program earn its second straight appearance in the PSUAC conference championship game.

Kasey is just as formidable in the classroom as she was on the pitch. She is a two-time recipient of the Penn State Hazleton Academic Achievement Award and the PSUAC Academic All-Conference Team as well as being named to the USCAA's All-Academic team in 2019. Jackson is currently finishing up her B.S. in Rehabilitation and Human Services and plans to attend the Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences where she'll study x-ray technology before seeking a job at a Veteran's Affairs hospital.

Kasey had to be coaxed into putting down her Twilight books but eventually called in for a Q & A:

What impact did athletics have on your experience at Penn State Hazleton?

Since I transferred in from another school it gave me an instant circle of friends and support. It also helped me from an organizational standpoint to focus on my academics

How did being an athlete make you a better student?

I had a goal to be great on and off the field and wanted to be a solid representative for our team. That definitely drove me to work hard on an academic level.

What has been your favorite memory while a member of the soccer team at Penn State Hazleton?

Making it to the finals during the 2018 season. It was my first year with the team after transferring from Mansfield and just the third year of the program so I consider it a great achievement that I'm very proud of.

If you could play any other sport, what would it be and why?

Either volleyball or lacrosse. Volleyball looks fun and I love the cheers… also I was an excellent line judge. Same with lacrosse but women's lacrosse rules are lame.

What teammate of your is the best one to follow on social media?

Both of the Principe sisters. Every time I see something funny on social media, those two are always re-tweeting it. They make my day man.

What is the best class you took while attending Penn State Hazleton?

Anything with Dr. Huck. He is a very nice guy and made all my RHS courses interesting.

What role will athletics play in your life going forward?

It helped me learn how to work in a group and be both a leader and a team player. Oh, that's not what you meant. In that case, I might think about getting into coaching down the road. I feel like I'd be good at making kids cry like Abby Lee Miller from dance moms.

What are you up to now during the quarantine?

Since my internship was suspended, I only have one research paper to complete before graduation so not too much schoolwork to do. I wake up and play Animal Crossing. Make some food. Nap. Mix in some Twilight reading and a work-out. I've rearranged my room several times and done a lot of online shopping. I'm currently watching New Girl, The Witcher and Peaky Blinders because I have a crush on the guy in the show. Did I mention nap?

Are there teammates, coaches or family members you would like to thank for having a positive impact on your playing career?

All of my coaches and my teammates for being so welcoming. Erin Whapham for being a great friend and pushing me during my injuries and to Patrice, Ryan and Jeff for being especially awesome. Big thank you to my family for all of their support!