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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.”

Girls’ swimming win sectional title

Photos by Brock Kennedy

Girls’ basketball plays Jeff tonight in Sectionals

Photo by Brooke Miller

Story by J.D. McKay

For the first time in over two years, my column is not coming out on a Wednesday. But, I wanted to publish it the morning of the first girls’ basketball sectional game. 

For anyone out of the girls’ basketball loop, we have struggled this year. There are three main reasons for that problem. 

One is injuries. It is tough to be really good when your best players cannot play, and one of the Highlanders best players, junior Grace Suer, has been out for nearly the whole season. 

The next kind of goes along with it, youth. When a team loses playes to injuries, they have to play younger players. That is not always a bad thing, but when there is only one senior on the team, it can be tough. The young players have definitely improved, but it is hard to replicate the experience and pressure an experienced player is used to. 

The last problem is height. For some reason, just about every small school that we play had at least one girl over 6’ 1”. Some, like Providence, had three. We have freshman Callie Jo Celichowski, who is a sixth or seventh player on the bench who has played a decent role this year. Then our other post player is Laney Siewert, who is about 5’ 7”.

Anyway, we have had a tough season, but the regular season does not really matter come sectionals. Tonight, they have a chance against Jeff, who they lost to earlier this year. However, Jeff lost their best player, senior Nan Garcia, to a season-ending injury, so things could be different. As usual, I will be giving my three keys to success to get the job done. 

Hit shots: This one is kind of obvious, but we need shots to fall. Anyone who has been to the last months of games can confirm that at times it has seemed like there has been a lid

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Sophomore Kendall Brown and freshman Mandy Hess discuss the upcoming defensive series after a time out. Photo by Brock Kennedy

on the basket. One of the team’s best shooters, sophomore Kendall Brown, has been struggling more than most. However, she is a good enough shooter that if she hits a three early to break out of her slump, she could drop 15 points from beyond the arc. Plus, as she pulls more defense towards her, it should open up freshman Mandy Hess, who seems to be the most consistent through this slump. All in all, there are some pretty good shooters on the team, but almost all of them are struggling right now. If one or two can hit some shots early, then it should be a win. 

Lock down post defense: Last Thursday, we lost to Providence. Providence had the best player I have watched the whole year in senior Natalie Boesing. She played more aggressively than usual and she was their main post player. The team did a pretty good job of stopping her. Unfortunately, she still had over 20 points but somewhere between 10 and 15 of those were free throws. Very few post players get to the line like that in girls’ basketball, so if they can keep Jeff’s post players at 4-6 points points, they should be able to win. 

Defensive rebound: If I remember correctly, many of Jeff’s points from earlier this year came from offensive rebounds and put backs. So If we can keep them off the offensive glass, that will be good. However, if they do get offensive boards, making their big men kick it out will have a big impact as well. 

Bottom Line: As I said above, the ladies have struggled this year. However, they have shown flashes late in the year of what they could do. If they get shots to drop, they would be pretty dangerous in sectionals. An eventual matchup against Bedford will be tough, but if shots start dropping, anything can happen. However, they have to get there first, but I am taking the Highlanders to get through at least one round in sectionals. Final Score: FC 45- Jeff 38

Baddude prepares to roll on to Wheaton

Story by J.D. McKay

This weekend, I made my official football visit at Wheaton College. It was one of the best weekends I can remember, including the weekend of the Jeffersonville sectional championship game. 

I started looking at colleges my freshman year. We would visit two or three each spring break. I was looking for a Christian school, with great academics, chapel, and hopefully a football team. 

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Last Spring Break I visited Wheaton for the first time. I talked to since retired head coach Mike Swider and was introduced to my recruiting coach and Wheaton’s Defensive Coordinator, CJ Nightingale. Since then, I have been up to campus for football junior day over the summer, a football game day visit against Washington University (Wheaton won 52-13 after scoring 35 points in the first quarter), and then a ROTC scholarship interview before this weekend. 

On the way up Thursday afternoon, I checked the ROTC scholarship web page and saw I received the four-year scholarship to Wheaton College. That means 100 percent full tuition, saving my family and me over 40,000 dollars a year. It was the only school that I received the four-year scholarship to. As I heard Coach Swider say over 20 times in the three times I heard him speak, “Thank You, Jesus.” 

mom dad and meThen, I got onto campus and got to talk to a few other coaches and share the good news with Coach Nightingale. He was genuinely about as excited for me receiving the scholarship as my parents and grandparents are. After listening to interim head coach Jesse Scott talk about Wheaton’s program philosophy, I was introduced to my roommates for the weekend. We went to bed early because there was a 6 a.m. workout the following day. 

We woke up at 5:20 a.m. for the optional workout. After the workout, I went to breakfast, a class, and chapel. Following chapel, I had my meeting with Coach Scott. During that meeting, he made an official offer to be on the team. I could have signed it in the meeting room, but he suggested we wait at least a day and take it home. That meant that pretty much everything I wanted and more had worked out. It was a school with chapel, a Christian school, and a chance to play football. Plus, I had a way to pay for it. 

After that meeting, I went to another class and had two other meetings with coaches before working out with the players. Then, we ate dinner and went up to the room for a few minutes. The team building activity for that Friday night was dodgeball. It was pretty crazy. We went to Los Burritos Tapatios. Finally, we headed back to play shirtless poker. 

Throughout the day, I saw what I had heard every coach I talked to say: The reason you go to Wheaton is not for the facilities (which are good), the food (which is also good), or the academics (which are great), you go for the people. The guys I lifted with, hung out with, and stayed with were all great guys who were pushing each other to the cross. That was exactly what I wanted, so at about 2 a.m. in Traber room 609, I signed the sheet and Little Brass Bell incoming
decided I will continue my academic career and play football at Wheaton for the next four years. 

I am extremely excited to be a Wheaton Thunder for the next four years. I am looking forward to playing for Coach Nightingale, who ran the best defense statistically at any level in college football this year. I am also excited to hang out with Christian guys all the time. But, I am looking forward to playing for the Little Brass Bell with North Central, conference championships and hopefully, national championships. Let’s Roll.

 

Unexpected NBA death shifts basketball history

Art by Scarlett Hatton

Story by Jadon Stoner

No introduction needed. Every news channel and social media platform is filled with the reports of the tragic death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Devastating. Horrendous. Heartbreaking. These are just a few of the words that swirled around the minds of millions of people throughout the world over the past 24 hours. Turn on ESPN, NBA network, or really any sports or news related TV channel and you will see interviews and quotes of various teammates, coaches, and media members. Dig a little below the surface, however, and you will discover that people who never even met this man have been inspired and transformed by the motivational stories of hard work and dedication of the great Kobe Bryant.

Kobe was a basketball legend; we all know that. Five-time NBA champion. Two-time Finals MVP. Voted the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2008. Eighteen-time all star. Over 33,000 points scored. The list of Bryant’s career accolades goes on and on. His undeniable desire to win and his willingness to sacrifice anything to achieve greatness is something we can all strive to embody. But the story of the Black Mamba goes much deeper than the bright lights of L.A. This particular story starts thousands of miles away from the beautiful coastline of Southern California in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Kobe was the youngest of three children. His father, Joe Bryant, played in the NBA until Kobe was six years old. After retiring from the NBA, Joe Bryant moved him and his family to Rieti,Italy to play lower level professional basketball. Growing up, young Kobe would watch his father play and watch tapes of NBA games his grandfather would video and send to him in the mail. From this, the love of basketball sparked in Kobe and drove him through his whole career. In 1991, the family moved back to Philly and the next year enrolled Kobe in Lower Merion High School: the place where his basketball career began.

Bryant started playing varsity as a freshman and won Pennsylvania Basketball Player of the Year as a junior. He led the team to a state championship in the 1995-96 season and was receiving offers from big time colleges like Duke, North Carolina, and Villanova. After seeing Kevin Garnett taken 5th overall in the NBA draft out of high school the previous year, however, Kobe decided to go straight to the NBA. He was taken 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets, who traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers later that night. Now, over 20 years later, and Kobe is looked at as one of the best to ever pick up a basketball.

This is a very sad time for the game of basketball and for anyone who was influenced by his greatness. It is natural to mourn in moments like these and think back to all the historical and monumental moments in his career. But I encourage all those who, like myself, missed a heartbeat when the news was confirmed, to not feel grieved or bitter, but to rather reflect on his astonishing and awe-inspiring career and try to implement part of who he was into our own lives. He was only here 41 years, and he gave it everything he had in everything he did. He lived life to the fullest, and his sudden and abrupt death is a reminder to all of us of how precious life is. Kobe’s legacy will live on forever on the court and in businesses and classrooms across the world. I think it’s safe to say there will never be another Kobe Bryant ever again. One man. One mission. One hero. One Mamba.