When it comes to sports, Andy Jacobs has a real balancing act on her hands. Fortunately for the 17-year-old, she has excellent balance.
After a whirlwind summer of balancing three sports at a very high level, Jacobs is preparing for her senior year at Century High School. Jacobs excels at diving, gymnastics and the pole vault in track and field for the Panthers and she worked out for at least two of the sports most days during the summer.
“It’s really hard,” Jacobs said. “Some days I would leave home at 7:30 in the morning and wouldn’t get home until 9 at night.”
Two days a week she would practice at gymnastics from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Pine Island, then travel to the Twin Cities to pole vault from 2:30-4:30 p.m., before returning to Rochester to work on diving from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
“Everyone asks me if I have a favorite, but it’s whatever is in the moment,” Jacobs said. “I’m probably best at the pole vault.”
Jacobs has gone to state every year in diving, gymnastics and the pole vault since the eighth grade. She has won three straight Class AA state pole vault titles and had the highest leap in the country from a high school girl while winning the Junior Olympics this summer. She has already had Division I offers to compete in the pole vault in college and may also consider diving in college as well.
Diving? Well that’s what will be in the moment for Jacobs this fall as she prepares for her final season on the Century swimming and diving team.
Started as a gymnast
Gymnastics is the sport where Jacobs got her athletic start, beginning at age 2. But diving is her second-most accomplished sport after the pole vault.
“My background is in gymnastics but now everything helps with everything else,” Jacobs said of excelling in all three sports and using them in a tandem-like fashion to help her transition between the three. Even her coaches will use cross references from each sport to help her fight through a move or routine from sport to sport.
“The amount of help that all of my coaches put in to help me be as successful as I’ve been is huge,” Jacobs said. “They kind of help me in all my sports.”
Jacobs has been to four straight state meets in diving. She placed fourth in Class AA state meet last year as a junior after winning the Section 1AA event with an all-time meet record. She was second in the state as a sophomore.
In all three sports that she excels, Jacobs needs great balance, flexibility, body control and to be fearless as well.
“I think it’s a real good overall balance,” she said of her strengths, “but I think my coaches would say I know exactly where I am when I’m in the air. … For as long as I can recall, I’ve known exactly where I am in the air.”
Gymnastics and diving might be the two of her sports that go hand-in-hand the best. Except for the landings, of course.
“When I was first learning diving it was hard because in gymnastics I’m always landing on my feet,” Jacobs said. She quickly learned to find her spot to enter the water smoothly, however. Jacobs estimates she could perform between 30 and 40 different dives during any one meet, although some are too easy and would not generate a high enough score.
The 5-foot-8 Jacobs lists her favorite dive as inward one and a half tuck, which at 2.2 has a moderate degree of difficulty. But she has nailed it to scores of 9.0 and 9.5 during high school meets. And high scores are what win meets. And remains Jacobs’ goal, although she stopped short of saying a state title was at the top of her wish list this season.
“I never want to say something like that because I don’t want to jinx it,” she said. “I just want to do the best that I can do. And I always want to get as high as score as I can.”
And while diving will be her primary focus this fall, she will also get in workouts for her other sports.