Before every gymnastics meet, Half Hollow Hills East’s Nicole Jackson makes sure her hair is just right.

“It’s my one superstition,” Jackson said. “My hair has to be a certain way before I compete.”

The former state champion is focused on leading Half Hollow Hills’ district team after missing high school competition last fall because of injury and club obligations.

“This season, I expect to go out there do my best and have a great time,” the Thundercolts’ senior captain said. “I’m here for my team and I’m ready for states.”

At the 2015-16 state competition — her hair with twists on each side coming together in a tight bun — she tied for first place on vault (9.7), took second on the uneven bars (9.5) and tied for ninth on beam (9.0). Gymnastics is a fall sport in Suffolk and a winter sport in Nassau.

“The 2015-16 season was her first year on the team and making it to states and placing in competition was a huge accomplishment,” Hills coach Teri Kindelmann said.

Jackson missed last year, she said, after hurting her foot during a dismount from the beam. The injury required surgery and put her out for two months.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Though she missed the high school season, she competed in the Eastern championship for USA Gymnastics placing third in all-around in her Level 9 group with a score of 37.275, first on vault (9.625), fifth on beam (8.950) and tied for fifth on uneven bars (9.450).

“Nicole is very hardworking . . . if something needs to get done, she does it,” Kindelmann said. “The team missed her last season. She was working on being a stronger gymnast and we’re ready to see those results.”

Jackson’s specialties include uneven bars and vault. She’s working to improve on beam.

“I’m trying to build up my confidence and continue to tell myself I can do it,” Jackson said. “I don’t watch anyone perform on beam. I stay in my own world and focus on doing my best.”

Jackson doing her best is all Kindelmann can ask for. “Since this is her senior year, I want her to do the best she can in all of her events,” Kindelmann said. “This is her last chance to represent herself and her school. I don’t want her to have any regrets. Just have fun and lay it all out there.”