Hayden Nielsen loves the variety that comes with playing four sports.
The senior plays basketball and soccer, and she also runs track and cross country at Wayne Country Day.
She enjoys interacting with different people throughout the year, and she prioritizes staying in shape all the time, so she is ready to contribute on the court, field, or track.
“Soccer has always been my favorite, but I also love them all equally,” Nielsen said. “Each one gives me something different that I cherish and that I’ll bring with me everywhere I go.”
A captain in all four sports, Nielsen has established herself as a leader on all four teams, and as a senior, she has the complete trust of her teammates and coaches.
And it is that trust that helps Nielsen and the Chargers be successful, no matter what sport she is competing in.
“Playing at Wayne Country Day has been a great experience. It’s great being an upperclassman and really teaching younger players how to play the sport that I love,” Nielsen said. “I love to do all of it, and I just love this school.”
Nielsen’s favorite sport is soccer, which she started playing at three years old.
She always dreamed of playing soccer in high school, and during her freshman year, Nielsen started to make a name for herself as she emerged as a steady contributor for the Chargers.
Playing on the varsity squad, she scored 22 goals and dished a team-leading 15 assists. The Chargers went 15-2-1 overall and reached the second round of the NCISAA 2A playoffs.
Nielsen’s success during her freshman made her want to invest even more time and energy into the sport from now on.
As a sophomore, she scored 20 goals and once again led the team in assists. The Chargers went 11-7 overall and once again reached the playoffs.
Nielsen lost most of her junior season to the COIVD-19 pandemic, and while she was disappointed to lose her junior season, Nielsen is excited that she gets play her favorite sport during her final of high school.
For her career, Nielsen has scored 42 goals while dishing out 29 assists, and she averages 1.3 goals per game.
“I always wanted to be a soccer player, no matter if it was at any level,” Nielsen said. “It’s just an innate love I have for the sport.”
Nielsen, who can 5,000 meters in 24 minutes, has been a member of student government since seventh grade, is a part of Key Club, and has been a girl scout for as long as she can remember.
She also tutors other students in Spanish.
Nielsen said she has managed to find a balance between school, sports, her social life, and various extracurricular activities, but she admitted it took a little time to find that balance.
“I just like being involved and giving back to the community that built me,” Nielsen said. “It was pretty difficult to find a balance, but I’m pretty well rounded, and I started doing all of these things at a young age, so it’s been hard, but I’ve gotten through it thanks to my teammates, coaches, and my parents.
“It’s been a team effort.”
As she completes her senior season, Nielsen’s goal is to support all her teammates and help them accomplish their goals.
Nielsen’s outstanding qualities carry over to the basketball court as well. Basketball is her second favorite sport, and she has made plenty of memories on the basketball court.
“Last basketball season was one of my favorites,” Nielsen said. “The senior class last year was amazing, and they are some of my best friends, and going all the way to the state semifinals was something I’ll always treasure.”
And during her senior year, Nielsen plans to keep making more special memories on and off the field.