Tag Archives: Athlete Spotlight

A BADDUDE’S JOURNAL UNDERRATED ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT: Sophomore Kylie McDonald

Photo by Brock Kennedy

Story by J.D. McKay

There are not many sports where an athlete can go to state as a sophomore and not be noticed. Add to that the fact that she has two family members on the All-State Wall and it seems that somebody should pickup on the fact that she could likely follow her family’s footsteps and be the third member of her family on the on the Wall. However, sophomore Kylie McDonald seems to have slipped through the cracks. 

McDonald has been swimming since she was in first grade. After all that time, she has settled into swimming the 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard individual medley, as well as relays. On Saturday at state at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, she will be swimming the 100 breaststroke and 400-yard freestyle relay. 

That was one of her main goals this year, to swim in state, but her swimming goals are bigger than that. 

“This year I wanted to just get to state in the 100 breaststroke. But my future goals are to make the finals at state, break FC’s 100 breastroke record, and swim in college,” said McDonald. 

McDonald works hard, but swimming is also something that is in her blood. As I mentioned earlier, her uncle, Brent McDonald, was all-state in 1996, winning the 100 butterfly and was the runner up in the 50 freestyle.

“Do I feel pressure? Yes and no. Coming from a family of swimmers does mean there is a little pressure to do well,” said McDonald. “But it also comes with a family that believes in you and gives you the best advice and race strategies.” 

Her family’s knowledge of swimming means that they can help her succeed in the mental aspect of the sport. 

“My parents and coaches being encouraging is part of what has led to my success,” said McDonald. “I was told to always have fun and never doubt that I can win.”

Part of having that swimmer blood in her means she is a natural competitor; in fact, it is one of her favorite parts of swimming. 

McDonald said, “Racing is my favorite part of swimming. I love being able to compete and race against the fastest girls in Indiana.”

A BADDUDE’S JOURNAL UNDERRATED ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT: Freshman Savanna Liddle

By J.D. McKay

It is hard to call freshman Savanna Liddle underrated. She is already finishing third on the cross country team behind two seniors who will both be running at college next year. But, when one of the girls ahead of you is your sister, it would be easy to fall into her shadow, especially when your sister was all-state as a junior and broke the school record last Saturday. However, Savanna does not see herself as being in Sydney’s shadow. 

“I do not think that I am really in Sydney’s shadow,” she said. “We have been training and working together through the whole off season, so we really hope each other will do well. Plus, she was all-state last year, and being all-state is definitely one of my goals. It is not like my parents or anyone through a lot of pressure on me to be all-state like her.”

The hard work with her sister has led to the success Savanna has already seen. 

“We do cross training, which means swim workouts, and workout videos as well as running. We would run seven to eight miles on long days, but normally we do five or six miles a day,” said Savanna. “Plus, my dad is a coach for the team, so it is nice having him at home to train with me a little extra.”

While most people would enjoy the success Savanna has seen her freshman year and might even let it go to their head, she has not done that. 

“I like getting to see the team every day and competing with my teammates and against other good runners. I want to be a good example to other girls because I try to run for Jesus because he gave me the ability to do this,” said Savanna. 

She also understands that to be a successful runner you need to always push and do, not let yourself plateau. 

Savanna said, “Of course I want to be all-state, but I know right now if I try to get faster and PR (personal record) every race I will get there, hopefully soon.”

Savanna is clearly a talented runner, but throughout the interview, she made it very clear that running was not her end goal. 

“Obviously it is fun to be successful and be on a good team,” she said. “But honoring God in all that I do is more important than running or swimming or school or whatever I do.”

 

A Baddude’s Journal Underrated Athlete Spotlight: Junior Caleb Slaughter

Photo by Grace Allen

Story by J.D. McKay

FC has been terrific at sports all four years I have been in high school, and we have had many talented athletes. This year, if you read The Bagpiper, you will probably see some names carry over from past years, athletes like senior kicker Cole Hussung, junior quarterback Tristan Polk, senior cross country runner Sydney Liddle, and senior soccer player Katie Yankey. All four people I named are extremely talented and have earned the attention given to them. 

However, there are other athletes who are also very talented. Athletes that often are not the highest point scorers, have the fastest times, or make the flashiest plays. These athletes can be very important players on the team, too. Their few points, several great tackles, or beautiful passes could push their team over the edge. 

This week, my athlete is junior football player Caleb Slaughter. Slaughter is a middle linebacker who is in his second year of football in high school. However, he started playing football as early as he could. He did not play his freshman year because he wanted to focus on baseball. But, his year off rekindled his love for the game. You can tell in practice that he does love the game again. 

As the “mike” backer, Slaughter understands his role. “The mike backer is typically the captain of the defense, so I view my role a little bit like that. But with both team captains being on that side of the ball, I let them lead and step up when I need to. I still take charge by calling the plays that coach Polk sends in to our DB’s,” said Slaughter. 

He understands the role of a middle linebacker, though. One of his goals is to win a sectional, and he knows to do that, his tackling will need to be top notch.

“I want to miss under eight tackles this year,” said Slaughter. “The lower that number is, the more likely it is we win games.”

Slaughter also plays a little bit of offense. He has the opportunity to get his name in the paper on that side of the ball by scoring some touchdowns as a fullback or tight end, but that is not his main goals. 

“My role on offense is to block and open holes so Wenkers (Wright) can score some touchdowns,” he said. 

Slaughter also fits into the student-athlete phrase. Slaughter has the team’s highest GPA and is in the top 10 percent of his class. He said being an athlete has helped in achieving such high grades. 

“The best advice I have ever been given related to sports was that everything I learn in sports will carry over to my day-to-day life now, and as an adult, said Slaughter. 

Slaughter probably does not get much attention because, as he said, “I want to help make the rest of the team look as good as I can.” But do not let that fool you. Even if Slaughter is making others look good, he will be one of the most important pieces of a defense that gave up just seven points Friday at Providence.