DODDS Athletes of the Year: Wiesbaden’s Jensen a jack-of-all-trades
June 19, 2008
WIESBADEN, Germany — Wiesbaden graduate Nancy Jensen is used to fulfilling expectations — her school’s, her teammates’ and her own. She just wasn’t expecting to be named DODDS-Europe’s female athlete of the year for 2007-2008.
"I didn’t even know they had something like that," Jensen said Tuesday, some 30 minutes after collecting the plaque that goes with her latest title. "I didn’t find out about it until this morning, when the school called and asked me to stop by. They gave me this big plaque."
Jensen’s selection for the award should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the four-year Wiesbaden athlete who lettered in four sports — tennis, basketball, soccer and softball — and made All-Europe in three of them. She likely would have made a fourth all-star squad, if volleyball were conducted sometime other than during the tennis season.
"I would like to have played volleyball, if they could have split the seasons somehow," she said.
Jensen’s senior year, atypical by normal standards, was typical of the level of distinction she consistently achieved. First, she teamed with Jessica Smith to win the European doubles championship, 6-3, 6-1, despite entering the three-day competition as the No. 6 seed.
In basketball, she averaged 8.5 points and 7.7 rebounds as the Division II Lady Warriors became the only team all season to defeat eventual D-I champion Kaiserslautern. Wiesbaden coach Jim Campbell relied heavily on the 6-foot Jensen’s defensive prowess — and intangibles.
"Her best attribute was her leadership," he wrote in nominating Jensen for athlete of the year. "She did much to help develop young talent."
Mentorship is something Jensen said she’d like to pursue.
"We didn’t win in basketball, but I got to help out a lot with the [junior varsity]," she said. "It was fun. I felt like a coach, which is something that I want to do someday."
Jensen returned to the winner’s circle in softball, which she opted to play this season instead of soccer. She batted .733, drove in 22 runs and stole 42 bases as the Lady Warriors claimed the European D-II title, all of which was little comfort to Wiesbaden soccer coach Steve Jewell.
"The soccer coach wasn’t very happy when I told him I was going to play softball this season," recalled Jensen, a soccer mainstay in 2007.
Jewell’s loss was softball coach Candie Lopez-Hamilton’s gain.
"Always put the team ahead of herself," Lopez-Hamilton wrote of her first baseman. "Great attitude plus great skills equals great player."
Jensen, who will attend Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo., already has her college sports narrowed down to basketball.
"They want me to try intermediate tennis," she said. "It’s not intercollegiate tennis, but I think I’ll give it a try."
Hoops, however, will continue to be her main focus.
"Basketball’s my favorite game," she said. "I just played the other sports to keep in shape and be involved with the school."
Jensen, who signed a letter of intent with Missouri Valley, an NAIA school, in December, said she hadn’t considered the college until the Vikings contacted her.
Jensen leaves Saturday for a one-month basketball camp in Kansas City and the beginning of her next series of challenges.
"I’m nervous," the prospective athletic training and sports medicine major said. "I hope to be what they expect me to be. I don’t like to let anyone down."
Knowing Jensen, who graduated with a 3.21 GPA, as well as they do, the Wiesbaden faculty is betting she won’t.
"Mrs. [Sue] Krummrei has been interested in my athletic career for some time," Jensen said. "She went to other teachers, and they gave me a $4,000 personal scholarship."
While admitting to reluctance to leave Wiesbaden, Jensen said she’s eager to try her hand at college ball.
"I’m ecstatic," the Presidential Achievement Award winner for academics said. "I’m ready to start a new page."