Category Archives: JD McKay

Baddude writes final column in high school career

Photo by Brock Kennedy

Story by J.D. McKay

It is crazy that after a little over two and a half years I’m writing my last column. Last week was my 100th column, and I think that this is the 120th story I published — that includes all columns and stories published in the paper. That could be a few higher, but I think that it is a pretty safe estimate. I am also going to declare myself the record holder for most stories published during anyone’s time on the Bagpiper staff, or at least while Mr. Lang has been in charge. 

The next thing I want to hit in this column is that I think it is time to retire the baddude mantra I have taken up throughout my high school career. The first simple reason is that at Wheaton the term used is dudes not baddudes. The idea kind of started as a joke because Coach Brian Glesing used that term a lot and I thought it was a funny nickname. But it kind of became a name you earned by your play on the field. If you made a pancake block, you are called a baddude. Had a big hit, baddude. Interception, baddude. Break a tackle, baddude. So it was kind of something you earned, and at Wheaton, I have not earned it yet. Might it come back late in my time at Wheaton? Maybe, but probably not.

Next, I thought I would hit a topic I wrote about a lot. My two and a half years I got to write about how FC dominated New Albany, as well as Jeff and Providence, a lot. So I thought I would just mention that the school year ended with FC as sectional champions over Jeff and New Albany. I also thought I would point out that we were undefeated against the three schools in football, tied the record for largest margin of victory against the Dogs after we scored 50 unanswered earlier this school year, and won sectionals for the first time in 10 years that included both Jeff and New Albany in it. 

I appreciate everyone who has read my column over the past couple of years, and I have enjoyed writing them. I really liked interviewing my fellow Highlander students and giving them credit for their athletic achievements. I am glad I decided to take Mr. Lang’s journalism class my freshman year so I got the chance to write for the paper while in high school. It has been a fun time and I am excited for my future as a Wheaton Thunder. 

J.D. McKay, signing off.

Baddude reflects over favorite stories in 100th column

By J.D. McKay

After about 2.5 years of writing my column I have two left. Today’s column, from May 13, and next Wednesday’s, the day before my last day of school. During my three years in newspaper and 2.5 years writing this column, we have done some impressive things as Highlanders. So, I thought in my 100th column I would look back on my favorite columns and stories I have written for the newspaper.

 

Boys’ basketball wins sectionals for the first time in 31 years 

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2020/03/07/boys-basketball-wins-sectionals-for-the-first-time-in-31-years/

This one was an easy number 1 for me. This was either my favorite or second favorite memory from my senior year. To me, though, this was an awesome moment in FC history and was awesome to cover. 

As a student, I was celebrating, but as a writer, I immediately was ready to interview guys after the game. And while the players I talked to knew I was interviewing them for the Bagpiper, we were just students at a school that had just won sectionals for the first time in 31 years. Crazy excited and completely themselves. They did not overthink the answer and told me exactly what they were feeling. That produced some great quotes, which made writing the story easy for me. 

Another significant part of this story for me was how quickly I wrote it and got it out. It was the only story I wrote in all three years on the Bagpiper staff that got out the same night as the event happened. It was the first story published about the game by any news source and I was very proud of the work I put into it. 

 

FC’s best athletes reflect over their success

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2018/05/18/fcs-best-athletes-reflect-over-their-success/

I got to interview some of the people that are hanging all over the FC athletic wing. That included Pat Graham, Mr. Basketball; Jeffrey Thompson, pro-baseball player and college World Series pitcher; Jill Schuler, an All-American and three sport all-state athlete; and Codie Hamsley, the Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year, as well as six others. It was interesting to put a story to a face on the All-State wall and tell their stories to a lot of students who may never have heard of them. 

 

Previewing New Albany basketball regular season games

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2019/12/11/fc-plays-new-albany-friday-in-continuation-of-historic-rivalry/

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2018/12/05/20447/

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/column-highlanders-face-toughest-task-this-friday/

I wrote three of these and I didn’t have one that stuck out, so I just included all of them. I wanted to flex a little but because my scoring predictions for these games were almost always pretty close. And that came from almost no knowledge of the Dogs. I never watched them play before writing the column and only looked at the scores of their previous games. 

Last year, my final score prediction was not very close but the margin of victory was. This year, the final score was 52-48, I predicted 53-51. My favorite game against New Albany was my sophomore year when they had Romeo Langford on their team. I predicted 51-50 and the final score was 49-47. That was an awesome game that played overtime and inspired my fourth favorite column to write. 

 

FC win against New Albany captured old Indiana basketball emotions

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/fc-win-against-new-albany-captured-old-indiana-basketball-emotions/

This was a cool column to write because I got to mention Indiana high school basketball history. If you read my columns very consistently you would see that came up in a lot of my basketball columns. But I enjoyed recapping the game and crediting Matt Weimer’s stellar defense on a player who is now in the NBA. I also got to proclaim the game an “Indiana high school basketball classic.” 

 

Baddude reflects on football career before college

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2019/11/20/baddude-reflects-on-football-career-before-college/

This one I enjoyed writing because it is always kind of fun to reflect on something. But it also reminded me of a lot of good memories I hadn’t thought about in a long time. It was also cool to really look back and see how all the football I played and was around as a little kid to success in my FC career and specifically senior season. 

 

Honorable Mentions

 

Baddude prepares to roll on to Wheaton

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2020/01/29/baddude-prepares-to-roll-on-to-wheaton/

This was fun to write because I committed in it. I had a place to do a cool commitment instead of the typical Twitter commitment. It was also fun to put out what I got to do as a college student-athlete for a weekend. 

 

Football coach Brian Glesing steps down

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2018/05/02/column-football-coach-brian-glesing-steps-down/

I liked writing this because I have known Glesing for a while. I worked with him a lot as a writer and he was very helpful. I also liked giving him his recognition that I thought he earned and a lot of people ignored because they did not like him.

 

Sports directly influence higher grades

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2018/08/29/sports-directly-influence-higher-grades/

I never really viewed myself as a dumb jock so I enjoyed arguing that the dumb jock stereotype was false. 

 

Tiger roars back to the top after Masters Win

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2019/04/17/tiger-roars-back-to-the-top-after-masters-win/

I have enjoyed trying to rank sports events for a long time. Here was a column where I finally got to do it so it was fun. Plus, writing about Tiger Woods was cool to do after he finally got back on top.

 

Louisville should be AAF Expansion City

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/louisville-should-be-aaf-expansion-city/

This was just kind of a fun story to write. I got to use my imagination to make a plan for Louisville. Obviously, the AAF did not work out, though. 

 

High school basketball is better without a shot clock

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2020/01/22/high-school-basketball-is-better-without-a-shot-clock/

I published this after we lost to Jeff on a buzzer beater early in the season. Many students were complaining that high school did not have a shot clock and were worried about Jeff using this again to impact a potential sectional game. It ended up not mattering in sectionals at all.

A Baddude’s Journal senior athlete spotlight: Chloe Loftus

By J.D. McKay

Last season, senior Chloe Loftus and her 4 by 800 meter team finished 10th at the state meet. This year, the team made up of sophomore Jaydon Cirincione, junior Natalie Clare, and Sydney Baxter were aiming to finish top eight and get on the podium. Loftus’ hard work was certainly helping to lead the team to a top eight finish.

“On an average week, I spend about 20 hours running and strength training,” said Loftus. 

On top of the hours she has put in, Loftus has been running for a long time. 

“I started doing track in fifth grade, the first year I could.” 

Along with the 4 by 800, she runs the 800 and 2 mile. 

“My goals for the season were to PR in the 2 mile and individual 800,” said Loftus. “I also wanted to be all-state with my 4 by 800 team.”

Loftus is getting to run at Division 1 Indiana State next year. One reason is her work ethic, but she believes the mental aspect of being a good runner is important, too. 

“I have had successes and get to run at ISU because I stay positive, work hard, and stay committed,” said Loftus.

As a D-1 athlete, she knows she cannot just sit back and get upset by the fact that she is losing a lot of her senior year, and plans to continue training for college. 

“My goals past track season and into the summer are to work hard and prepare for my freshman cross country season at ISU.” 

Even though she is excited about her future as a runner, that does not mean she is just fine with missing her senior season. 

“My favorite part of track is getting to compete and hanging out with my friends,” said Loftus. “So the thing that I am most sad about when it comes to track season is having to miss out on all of the memories that I would have made with my teammates.”

But the best advice ever given to Loftus has helped her push through this tough time and become a talented runner. 

“The best advice someone has ever given me is to set your eye on a goal and never give up until you achieve it,” she said. “Even if it seems impossible.”

Q&A with college signees Brenten Rodgers and Daly Skees

Photo Courtesy of Wayne Timbs

Story by J.D. McKay

After three or four successful years as players, athletes get their chance to be recognized in the paper and in the school by signing to play college sports. However, because of Coronavirus, several athletes have not gotten to do their signing. Hopefully they do get the regular signing at school, but I would be surprised if they do. Baseball player Daly Skees and football player Brenten Rodgers were two players in this situation; so I thought I would let them tell my readers and me about where they picked to get the recognition of signing on our website.

Daly Skees

Baddude: Where are you going to school?

Daly Skees: “I’m going to attend Hillsdale College.”

BD: Why did you choose that school?

DS: “I chose Hillsdale because the campus was perfect and all the people there made me

skees2
Senior Daly Skees pitches his junior year. Photo Courtesy of Wayne Timbs

feel welcome. I had similar views about the game of baseball and training with the coaches. The mission of the college was very intriguing as well.” 

BD: What are you most excited about in college?

DS: “I’m most excited about going to a challenging school that will prepare me for life after school. I’m also excited about getting to play the sport I love at the next level.”

BD: What are you planning on majoring in?

DS: “I’m planning on majoring in economics or mathematics.” 

BD:What were some achievements in high school?

DS: In high school, I achieved a top 100 player in the state and a top 25 pitcher in the state by PBR [Prep Baseball Report]. I was also voted a Perfect Game All-Area All-American Honorable Mention.”

BD: What are some things people would be interested to know about your school? 

DS: “Hillsdale is number three in great books programs according to Best College Reviews. It is also one of the top conservative colleges in the country.” 

BD: Are you disappointed you might not get to sign at school, and why?

DS: “I am disappointed because I have wanted to have that moment of signing at school with all the people who helped me get to the point where I’m at now. I think it would have been a great way to say thanks to all of them.”

BD: Anything else you want to tell me about your signing, your school, or your high school career?

DS: “This year is weird because I was not ready to take off the green and gold jersey for the last time, but now that I know I won’t get to put it on it hurts more than I thought it would. I have been wearing those colors for 10 years but now it’s over before I get the chance to say goodbye.”

BD: How disappointed are you to not get your senior season of baseball?

DS: “Hearing that I wouldn’t get my senior year of baseball was devastating. My teammates and I worked so hard for so many years to get to play our senior year. We spend a lot of time outside of school practice and workouts to hopefully set ourselves up for a successful final season.” 

BD: Will not having your senior season affect anything with Hillsdale or not?

DS: “No it will not affect anything at Hillsdale. I have kept in touch with my coaches and they have answered questions and concerns I’ve had.”

BD: What were you most looking forward to this season?

DS: “I was most looking forward to the opportunity to pitch for my school and team. I was looking forward to seeing where we stood against the rest of teams in the state.”

 

Brenten Rodgers

BD: Where are you going to school?

Brenten Rodgers: “Trine University”

BD: Why did you choose that school?

BR: “It’s felt like home every visit I went there. Their job placement rate, graduation percentage, [and] the atmosphere are very good. It’s more in the rural area of Indiana and not a big city. I like to be away from the big cities and out in the country.”

BD: What are you most excited about in college?

BR: “I am mostly excited about a fresh start. It’s a new beginning and one of the hardest choices I’ll ever make in my life. I’m excited about the opportunities that await me, new people I’m going to meet and football. I’m really excited to be able to fulfill my dreams of playing beyond high school football. Heck J.D., when we were Little League we joked about it and now it’s a reality. So I’m really excited to keep pushing myself and seeing what’s next.”

rodgers
Senior Brenten Rodgers (73) chases after junior Wenkers Wright as he tries to make a block. Photo by Brock Kennedy

BD: What are you planning on majoring in?

BR: “I am planning on majoring in mechanical engineering, with my background I am very interested in doing that field of work and enjoy doing it.”

BD:What were some achievements in high school?

BR: “I had a lot of gals coming into high school. My main one was to get a 3.5 or above and right now I’m at a 3.67. So that was a big check mark. Graduating was a goal too, of course, but I had other small ones that really paid off in the long run. I watched a video my freshman year and three words stuck out to me. They were ‘One more rep.’ I took out a note card and wrote down some simple goals for my freshman year. They were to show up to every practice, give all I got, and dress for a varsity game. I did all three and it really set a tone for me. I did that every year. Senior year was different. I failed all my goals my junior year. So I pulled out my card and decided I was not going to do simple goals again. I’m going to make goals that are going to break me down and show me how to keep fighting. My goals were to go undefeated at home, win a sectional championship, all-conference, all-state, and be picked to play in an All-American game. As you know, I checked one and two. I failed three and four, but the early mornings with Gumble paid off and I got to play in an All-American bowl on the Miami Dolphin field. That was awesome. So all my goals and achievements were football but it’s what got me through high school. It was a lot of fun. Nothing is like Friday Night Lights, I mean nothing.” 

BD: What are some things people would be interested to know about your school? 

BR: “Trine is a very cool place. Trine has a great atmosphere. The job placement rate, graduation rate, and small class sizes are awesome. It’s just a great place overall.”

BD: Are you disappointed you might not get to sign at school, why?

BR: “I’m very disappointed I don’t get to sign at school. I mean, that’s where I thought I was going to die during summer workouts. It’s where I failed and gained a lot of strength. We have grown up with a lot of people in our class and other grades. We always dreamed of signing in front of everyone in “our” high school, and now since that’s not going to happen it just doesn’t feel as special anymore.”

BD: Anything else you want to tell me about your signing, your school, or your high school career?

BR: “I’d say if it wasn’t for Floyd Central football I probably wouldn’t be going to the next level. FC football and FC really developed me into the guy I am today. I owe a lot to my team and teachers and coaches. I can’t thank you guys enough. All though I don’t get to sign, the memories and everyone who pushed me to be able to get the grades and athletic ability will always be there.”

Spring sports lose possible achievements

By J.D. McKay

Thursday April 2, at about 3 p.m., Governor Eric Holcomb said that school buildings would be closed for the rest of the school year. About an hour later, the IHSAA decided to cancel all spring sports as well, ending many seniors’ last season playing their spring sports and losing the chance to win a sectional their senior year.

This year, our spring sports were playing for some significant achievements in the sport and for the Class of 2020 as a whole. Here I will explain what they will be losing the chance to do. 

Boys’ track and field was starting the season in a way they had not done since 2002 — not as reigning sectional champions. Last year, New Albany won sectionals, so this year, the boys were seeking to start a new streak of sectional championships. 

Girls’ track and field was rolling into the season having won their 10th straight sectional championship over New Albany last year. They probably would have won sectionals again and possibly won regionals. Last year, they got third in regionals, New Albany, who is in our sectional, won. But the girls were returning most of their best athletes, so they probably would have been regional favorites.

Boys’ golf also probably would have won sectionals. They have won sectionals 20 of the past 21 years. Although last year we only won by 10 strokes, New Albany graduated their two best golfers, so another sectional championship would have been almost certain. Senior Reece Compton would be looking to improve his 34th place finish last season at state, too. 

Girls’ tennis was almost guaranteed to win sectionals, too. Since 1982, they have only failed to win sectionals five times, and the last one was in 2000. Last season, they fell 3-2 to Providence in regionals but would have had a good shot beating them this season. 

Softball was trying to win their first sectional since 2017. Behind four seniors [Taryn Weddle, Madison Wathen, Bailey McLean, and Elizabeth Ford] planning on playing college softball, it was definitely do-able.

Baseball was trying to win sectionals for the first time since 2015. According to some of the players, they were the best team in the sectional. It was going to come down to who was pitching for each team and the sectional draw. 

Earlier I mentioned spring sports were losing the chance to do something special for the Class of 2020 as a whole, and now I will explain that more. Over that long Spring Break with nothing to really do, I compiled all of FC’s sectional championships all-time [published below].The most won by a senior class in one school year were in 2016-17 and 2013-14. Our class had won 10 after basketball ended. With spring sports, we could have finished at 16, but I think a conservative number would be four, still enough to set the record for sectionals won in a school year at 14. 

Aside from setting the single year sectional record, we could have set the four-year record for sectional championships with five championships. That would have put us at 50 championships. That record can be a little misleading because there probably was not a lot of contribution from us as freshmen, but it still shows the high level of athletics while we were in high school. Something I have been saying since I started writing my column my sophomore year.

FC All-Time Sectional Champions Spreadsheet