Sometimes, the option not considered becomes the best choice.
That was the case for Jessi Habegger, who didn’t have Mount Vernon Nazarene on her list of schools.
However, a late visit swayed the Sheridan graduate’s decision as she will compete in cross country for the NAIA school and receive a combination of academic and athletic scholarships.
“I visited a lot of college and wasn’t considering Mount Vernon (Nazarene),” she said. “I really liked the size of the campus, and the location was perfect. It ended up being the right place.”
Habegger mulled over other colleges, including Otterbein. However, a meeting with Cougar coaches and teammates made her feel like part of the team.
“The coaches set up an overnight stay with some of the runners,” Habegger said. “They were really friendly and like most runners, they were laid back. It was a nice fit.”
The training from Sheridan will have Habegger prepared. She was part of two district champions and two state-qualifying team, including when 2012 Generals finished eighth in Division II. She credited coach Bart Smith for showing her what it takes to succeed on the course.
“Coach Smith knew what he was doing and pushed us really hard every day,” Habegger said. “I followed our summer and winter training to get ready for each season. He was a really good coach who gave me a good base for my running.”
Habegger remains undecided on a major but is leaning towards a field in science. Her parents are Deb Masterson and Terry Habegger.