By Anne Dunham
Photography by Jeremy Petrick Photography
Ashton Hegge does more than school organized sports. Ashton spends a lot of his time in the gym and on the field but fishing and hunting are just as important to him. The 6’2” Breckenridge senior has managed to stay busy with a variety of activities throughout his high school career.
“If Ashton isn’t playing a sport, he’s fishing,” says Ashton’s mom, Jenn, who recently went back to school to become an RN. “Ashton and his dad have a special relationship. They both share a strong interest in fishing. They go often and have good quality father son time.”
Ashton’s dad, Jon, a drafter and estimator for Heitkamp Construction, has always been Ashton’s biggest role model.
“I look up to my dad a lot. I fish with him almost every weekend,” Ashton says.
In addition to athletics and fishing, Ashton has an itch for hunting and being at the lake.
Luring him in
Since Ashton was a young child, Jon and Jenn knew they were raising an athlete.
“From a very young age, Ashton always had a ball in his hand. It didn’t matter what type of ball,” Jenn says. “He was always outside playing some sort of ball in the yard with his brothers or neighborhood friends. He required less sleep than the average child.”
It was not a surprise. The Hegge family has a background of participation in athletics.
“All of my family members were in sports growing up. I like to say I followed in my brother’s footsteps,” Ashton says. “I look up to my dad also. He was the top pitcher for his high school.”
Ashton’s parents have been his mentors and source of encouragement his whole life.
“My parents never doubt me and push me to my potential,” Ashton says. “There has not been a game in my athletic career without some type of ‘good luck’ from my mom. My dad has helped me develop my skills since I was old enough to throw a ball.”
Ashton’s older brother, Zach, was a successful basketball and baseball player for Breckenridge High School. His younger brother, Jace, is also an athlete at Breckenridge Middle School.
“Ashton and his brothers have a good relationship with each other. They are very proud of him and attend his sporting events with pride,” Jenn says.
What a catch
Starting a sport without much previous experience as a senior can be difficult. For Ashton, it consisted of earning an all-conference award. He had not played football since he was in 8th grade.
“I played up until my 8th grade year. I did not have interest to play in high school but my friends convinced me to go back out as a senior and it was fun,” Ashton says.
Ashton and two friends decided to make a pact. Their pact was to go out for a sport they had not played in years. Ashton stuck with it, and was successful.
“The football team made it to the playoffs and Ashton played a significant role on the team as a wide receiver, defensive back, and a kicker for kickoffs, field goals, and extra points,” Jenn says.
Besides his successful senior year of football, he had even more success in baseball and basketball. He earned all conference in basketball and baseball his junior and senior year. In baseball, he was named best defender his sophomore year, and best pitcher his junior season.
Breckenridge head baseball coach, Kevin Hiedeman, cannot stress enough what Ashton has done for the baseball team over the past four years.
“He is our go to guy. When we have to win, Ashton is the guy we give the ball to,” Kevin says. “He is one of the best center fielders I have ever coached.”
The stats are nothing compared to some of the memories Ashton has made.
“My favorite memory of Ashton’s sports career was when he made a last second shot in a basketball game against Crosby-Ironton to advance them to state,” Jenn says. “I still get chills and tears when I think about that moment or watch it on tape.”
Ashton has definitely left his mark at Breckenridge High School.
“My junior year of basketball was Breckenridge’s first trip to the state tournament since 1979. It was a big deal for us. Unfortunately we lost our first game,” Ashton says.
“I speak for both of us as parents in that we enjoy watching Ashton and his teammates every chance we get,” Jenn says.
“He is an all-around incredible three-sport athlete,” Kevin says.
Finding the perfect spot
It doesn’t matter what game Ashton is playing, he is a team player.
“Ashton is a silent leader. As a captain, he leads with his actions,” Kevin says. “He accepts what happens and keeps plugging through.”
“Ashton is one of the most humble people I have ever known. He is unselfish and wants everyone involved,” Jenn says. “He has a shy, quiet personality, so when he does talk, we stop what we’re doing and listen.
Ashton has decided that North Dakota State College of Science will be a good fit for him to study electrical construction in the fall.
“Ashton excelled in school right from the start. His teachers always had good things to say about him,” Jenn says. “He did things above and beyond what was expected of a kid his age.”
He has had college offers for baseball from NDSCS, baseball and basketball from Crookston, and basketball from Fergus Falls, but decided to focus on school instead.
“I like sports but I am not invested enough to play in college. I would rather be involved in intramurals,” Ashton says. “I have a good friend that is in the electric construction program at NDSCS. He really likes it and I know there are a lot of jobs out there for it.”
“Ashton will go far in whatever he chooses to do. It is tough as a graduate to know exactly what you want to do in life,” Jenn says. “Whatever he does, he will give it all he has.”
“He gives 100% effort 100% of the time,” Kevin says.