By: Connor Blake, Staff Writer
Jackie Luckhardt, a guard for the Women’s basketball team and a senior majoring in athletic training from Londonderry, New Hampshire is making a full-court press towards finishing her senior season strong.
Luckhardt graduated from Londonderry High School, in Londonderry, New Hampshire. During her time there she was a four-sport student-athlete participating in soccer, basketball, track and lacrosse. During her junior season she was named New Hampshire D1 All-state second team, and earned first team all-state honors in her senior season.
Off the court Luckhardt excels academically earning the William B. Wise scholar athlete award all three years at USM (2016-2019). Not to be outdone, she earned 2018-2019 Little East Conference All-Academic honors.
Luckhardt has worked hard doing what she loves, playing basketball. The major isn’t easy, but she “loves the challenge” said Luckhardt. During her sophomore year, she tore her ACL and meniscus and was able to come back to her junior year and earn All-LEC Second team honors playing in 27 games averaging 9.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.4 steals per game. On top of that she also shot a career-best 42.9 percent from the field.
Needless to say, Luckhardt is looking forward to improving this year as well. Just one week into the season she earned the Maine Women’s Basketball Coaches Association player of the week award.
The Free Press spoke with Luckhardt this week about her recent success, her love of basketball and what her next steps are.
Q: When did you start to play basketball?
A: I started playing basketball when I was in 3rd grade.
Q: Why do you play basketball?
A: I play basketball because I love the competitive atmosphere of the sport.
Q What has basketball taught you that can be transferred to other areas of life?
A: Basketball has taught me leadership skills and time management skills both on and off the court.
Q: What is it like being on the All-Little East Conference Second Team honoree last year?
A: Being on the All-Little East second team last year felt rewarding, that hard work was paying off, but I still have more work to do. I am not satisfied by any means, there is always room for improvement. I believe that we can achieve so much this year, and I want to be the best version of myself for my teammates.
Q: How do you intend to build on prior success both personally and as a team?
A: I intend to keep working on my skills and getting stronger physically. Like I said, there is always room for improvement. My team has great chemistry, which is an important aspect to our success. Every day we continue to learn and grow together.
Q: How do you balance school with basketball?
A: Being an Athletic Training major, playing basketball, and working has not been easy, especially with clinical hours, but it has taught me how to manage my time. It is an important skill to have, which I am grateful to have been challenged with. What has helped me up until this point, is setting aside some time for myself to relieve stress and solely relax. Even if it is only for 30 minutes out of my day.
Q: What do you do outside of the sport?
A: Outside of basketball, if I am not working or at clinicals, I enjoy traveling and engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking or playing other fun sports.
Q: What are you planning to do after school?
A: After school, I want to attend graduate school in the future at some point to further my education, and I am contemplating trying to play basketball overseas for a year or so because I think it would be a great experience overall. It is important to me that I take time to travel as well while I am young.
Q: Who is your inspiration in life?
A: My inspiration is my father. He has the biggest heart and is the strongest man I know. He has taught me to work hard for what I have and be proud to have the things and people that I have in my life. He is an important person in my life and I wouldn’t be where I am today without his support and guidance.
Q: How have your coaches helped you on and off the court?
A: My coaches have been a support system both on and off the court. They have helped me develop my skills, but they have also helped me evolve as a leader.
Q: What piece of advice would you give to other student-athletes who are looking for success?
A: If I were to give advice to other student-athletes, I would say you are going to get overwhelmed at times, but don’t forget to have fun. Not many people get the chance to play at the collegiate level and it goes by fast, so enjoy your time.
Q: If I were to ask a teammate “Tell me about Jackie” what would they say?
A: My teammates may say that I am very competitive and I always believe that I can do more. I give my all in everything that I do, and strive to make others around me better.
Q: When you look back at USM what will you remember?
A: When I look back at USM, I will remember the people who have impacted my life. I am lucky to have met so many amazing people and maintain the relationships that I have created.