Athlete of the week: Brooke Borchardt, Zimmerman, volleyball: Poised to ExCEL

by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor

Brooke Borchardt, Zimmerman volleyball’s all-time leader in hitting and blocking, was one of the state finalists for the ExCEL award last March who were introduced on TV at a state basketball tournament game.

That award goes to juniors for Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership. Borchardt and Hunter Smith were ZHS nominees, and each was picked as a section winner. They also grace the cover of this year’s District 728 calendar.
Brooke Borchard has made over 925 kills and over 225 kill blocks, both career records for Zimmerman. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Borchardt is a three-sport athlete for the Thunder amid a long slate of school activities while posting a 3.89 GPA so far.

“I think it’s good to be well-rounded,” said Borchardt, who enjoys learning about business and marketing in the DECA store, stoking her creativity in Art Club and delving into leadership and service in Link, National Honor Society and Impact, while picking up “teamwork, determination, goal setting and other skills” through sports.

The 6-foot-1, 155-pound middle hitter holds ZHS records for kills (934) and kill blocks (229) as a four-year starter, among other distinctions like  the single-game record of 11 aces.

“Brooke has a lot of natural talent, but she also puts in a lot of hard work,” coach Cassandra Olson said. “Obviously her height is a huge advantage, but she is also a good jumper and a very smart player. She can put the ball anywhere she wants to.”

This fall, Borchardt is excelling around the dial, with 262 kills, 63 kill blocks, 159 digs and 64 service aces.

“Brooke has really stepped up her game in all areas,” Olson said, “but what she has improved on most from last year is her passing and defense.”

Borchardt was a big part of Zimmerman’s best season last year when the Thunder went 21-8 and lost in section finals to Maple Lake.

“We got to play in a really big game,” Borchardt said. “We all really wanted to go to state, too, but just getting that far, with the team, that was a great experience.”

This year, she’s the lone veteran on a squad that’s 10-12 after a 7-2 start. “It’s been kind of frustrating,” she said. “We lost nine seniors, so we knew we had to start new.”

Borchardt continues in volleyball with the Wicked Moose club team while playing basketball and track.

Her raw athletic ability is also evident in track, where she does well in two dissimilar events, high jump (personal-best 5-0) and discus (114-0). She has placed fifth and second in high jump at conference meets, along with  fourth and fifth in discus. At sectional play, she’s been fifth in disc twice and fourth in high jump.

“My long arms definitely help in disc, and I guess I have a pretty good vertical,” said Borchardt.

In basketball, Borchardt averaged 6.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and one block per game on an 11-16 team last year as an inside-outside player.

Regarding her busy workload, Borchardt is confident that skills she learns in each sport helps her in her other sports, and her experiences in all activities will serve her well as an adult. “It’s all worth it, in the end,” she concluded.


Brooke Borchardt
Brooke Borchardt

Personal file — Age: will be 18 Oct. 30 … Family: Mike and Sara; brothers Alex, 20, Jake, 15, Joe, 12 … Sports: volleyball, basketball, track …Other activities;  DECA, Impact, NHS, formerly Link … Academics: 3.89 GPA … College plans: probably Southwest State, major undecided, wants to play volleyball
Favorite stuff — Class: math … TV show: “Vampire Diaries” … Movie: “The Proposal” … Food: Subway fare … Drink: Sprite … Music: Ed Shearan … Team: Twins … Athlete: Kerri Walsh Jennings …. Kickback activity: playing guitar and singing … Would like to visit: Australia