(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
At the 2008 Cougar Club Y Awards junior gymnast Hayley Jensen was honored the prestigious Kimball Memorial award. This is actually the second year Jensen has received this award, only the second athlete to do so.
The honor was established to honor Eddie and Rod Kimball and their brother, Vaughn, who was killed in World War II. It is given to an outstanding male or female athlete who letters at least twice and who has the highest scholarly achievement of those who qualify.
Success and high levels of achievement are nothing out of the ordinary for Jensen. It is part of who she is. She sets high goals and works vigorously to accomplish them.
As a 17-year-old, Jensen came to BYU in 2005 from Colorado Springs, Colo., after a very productive club career in which she was a Colorado state champion and competed as an international elite gymnast. Over her three seasons with the Cougars, she has been a valuable contributor on multiple events. She has posted career-best scores on vault (9.800), beam (9.825) and floor (9.850) this season and has claimed three individual event titles.
Academics have always been a key part of Jensen's life. She graduated from Pine Creek High School with a perfect grade point average and as the valedictorian of her class. Along with being named an NCAA Academic All-American for two years in a row, she currently maintains a 3.99 GPA in psychology.
"I love learning and applying new knowledge in daily life," Jensen said. "I also love the inner feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment that come from hard work and dedication to achieving goals."
Being successful in the classroom and in the sport of gymnastics is no small accomplishment. Gymnastics is a sport that can take a toll on a person both physically and mentally. Balancing the two, along with enjoying other aspects of life, can be an awfully tricky task.
"It has taken years of learning and practice to figure it out, and I'm still learning how to do it," Jensen said. "The most important thing that I have learned is to keep things in perspective. It is a lot easier to keep things balanced."
Jensen's coach recognizes the efforts she has made to be able to achieve such a challenging balance.
"Hayley is a very hard worker in the gym as well as the classroom," said BYU head coach Brad Cattermole. "She is one of those gymnasts I never have to worry about. She is always striving to do better."
After graduation, Jensen plans on furthering her education by either obtaining a graduate degree or attending law school.