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.”
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.
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.”
Then, 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
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.
Well, our most recent loss came in a way that is expected to happen maybe once every couple of years– on a buzzer beater. However, if you have been at FC over the past two years, you know we have gotten the short end of the stick several times at the buzzer. We have lost six games over the past two years, and four of them have been at the buzzer. Earlier this season, head coach Todd Sturgeon told the News and Tribune he had been beaten on one buzzer beater in all 20 of his years coaching, up until last season.
Following the game Friday, there were frustrated Floyd fans calling for a shot clock in high school basketball. Jeff dribbled the ball out for the last minute, and even with senior Ben Purvis’s and Sturgeon’s smart play, Jeff still hit a pretty lucky shot at the buzzer. However, wanting a shot clock in high school basketball would completely change the game and make it much worse for viewers.
Reason 1: It changes the classic parts of the game
I know this is one of my weakest reasons and the classic parts of the game are being changed in many sports like baseball. But, as Hoosiers, we should appreciate basketball as it is meant to be played. That does not mean we cannot enjoy the NBA style of no defense and crazy dunks, but we need to look back at the past and when basketball was growing into what it has become in Indiana. Milan High School, the team the movie Hoosiers was based on, held the ball for almost four minutes in their state championship game in 1954.
Reason 2: It is logistically more complicated
The first part of having a shot clock is buying a shot clock. That can cost between 10 and 25 thousand dollars. In a generation where sports are becoming less and less valued, some small schools with bad teams could find it more worthwhile to just drop their programs and move on than to buy and install the equipment needed. Then, if it is installed, someone has to work it. In high school sports, if something can go wrong in the booth, it will. They will inevitably forget about either the shot clock or game clock. In football there is a play clock that is set at the start of each play. To start it, the person in the booth can basically just look at the official and start it when told. However, it is quite often done wrong and it is much similar than a shot clock. Plus, while we are talking about officials, at the high school level they are generally pretty bad. So even if they had some signal to restart the shot clock, their is no guarantee they would always signal it.
Reason 3: It would reduce anticipation in the last minute
Not having a shot clock at the end of the game would make the last minute much more anti-climatic. If we knew we are guaranteed the ball again, then that possession would have meant less. Obviously we are still hoping they do not score, but it is basically a regular possession because that is what the goal always is. Without the shot clock, you expect when the last shot will be and that minute or so of waiting adds to the excitement.
Reason 4: It really would not change the game for the better and increase scoring
For some reason, people associate the shot clock with more scoring. It works that way in the NBA, but NBA players are freaks. There are fewer than 100 high school players like that. We played a pretty slow game. We pass the ball around and look for a good shot and rely on having a good defense, which seems to be working pretty well for us. But if we were limited on the time we had the ball, it would result in some bad looks. With junior Jake Heidbreder on the team, they would probably go in pretty consistently, but for other schools without a Heidbreder, they would start scoring fewer points. Plus, with a shot clock, teams with very athletic players like Silver Creek and Jeff would just go to the hole and it would be hard to stop because of their quickness. It would take some terrific coaching (which I think Floyd has if push comes to shove) to not slow down on the offensive end and continue to play well on the defensive end.
High school basketball in Indiana is a tradition that rivals sports in all other states, and adding the shot clock to the game would lessen the value of the sport. People think that the shot clock would make the game better. But clearly, it would ruin the game and is tough to add to the game.
Well, after the National Championship Monday night, we have three real football games left this season. So, I thought I would give my take on the next two.
Titans vs Chiefs 3:30
I have been picking the Titans throughout the playoffs. They have dominated the game by running the ball with Derrick Henry, which is one of the most important parts of any playoff run. They have also done two things considered impossible throughout the regular season: beating the high power Ravens offense, and beating the Patriots in New England in the playoffs. However, neither offense was as good throwing the ball as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are. The Chiefs have also probably had this weekend marked since they lost to the Patriots in OT last year. The Chiefs are going to come out hotter than they did against the Texans. The Chiefs will win, probably by quite a bit, even with the Titans terrific ground game. Final Score- Chiefs 35- Titans 17
Packers vs 49ers 6:40
This game I am expecting to be about as close as the early game, so not much of a game. I am not very convinced with the Packers. They have barely beaten some bad teams, like the Lions in Week 17. They seemed to just slide in as the two seed. The 49ers dismantled the Vikings last week, the Vikings were coming off a big win too, so they had some momentum. The 49ers also have a very strong defense, which should give the Packers more problems than they had last week against the Seahawks. Final Score 49ers 31- Packers 17
Christmas break has the best sports action of any break, from high school all the way up to the pros. I was also able to get to a wrestling meet, a swim meet, two boys’ basketball games, and two girls’ basketball games. So I’ll give my take from each sport as well as some college and pro sports.
Swim– Our boys’ and girls swim teams are the best in our area, no question. But things
get much tougher as we get into the Indianapolis area. Both teams dominated Jeff, the second best team in the area the Thursday before break. Then, two days later, we
performed pretty well again but not better than Brownsburg, an Indianapolis school. However, we should dominate sectionals again before scoring a few points and hopefully getting a couple of athletes on the all-state wall.
Wrestling-I am going to start this off by saying I do not know much about wrestling.
However, I went to the New Albany meet because it was Senior Night and to support my football teammate senior Sean Burk. We were much better than New Albany. They did not even have a wrestler for several weight classes, one of which was Burk’s. I could tell that we had some extremely talented wrestlers in senior Jonathan Kervin, junior Gavinn Alstott, and sophomore J Conway. They all three have a chance to win state and should definitely be all-state; that will be back-to-back all-state seasons for Alstott and Kervin. It is also worth noting that Alstott’s win against New Albany was his 100th as a Highlander.
Boys’ basketball– The boys’ are better than people were expecting. In fact, they have
been one of the most underrated teams in the state. They are not as good as Silver Creek, and have a tough matchup against the Dragons in February, but they proved in the game against Bloomington South on Dec. 21 that they can play with some of the best teams in the state. Most people were expecting a 20-point victory for Bloomington South, but after four quarters, the score was tied. Bloomington South eventually won on a buzzer beater. The officials cannot be blamed for the outcome of a game but I really think it is worth mentioning that the officiating was terrible. That game proved that we can play with the best teams. If junior Jake Heidbreder gets rolling, the seniors lead the team through four quarters, and the underclassmen can step-up, we are very dangerous.
Girls’ basketball– I have a very unusual view on the girls’ basketball team because I
practice with them several times a week. They are very young and expectations were not very high for them. But, throughout break, they have improved greatly. They have played pretty well at times. But their main problem is that they do not hit shots for about five minutes and dig themselves a hole. If they could be a little more consistent, they could very easily be .500 on the year. The next three years should be good, though, behind junior Grace Suer, who is injured this season and a major loss, sophomore Keegan Kaiser and freshman Mandy Hess.
Now to pro and college sports. I said the Titans would win in the week leading up to the Patriots Titans game. Then it happened. I think it ended the Patriots dynasty because for the first time in 10 years they will not be in the AFC Championship game, and, unless the Patriots get Rob Gronkowski to unretire or add some significant talent, they will not be back next year. They might not even win their division because the Bills look like a very talented and young team. On another note, the Titans will beat the Ravens this week.
I also decided over Break that Bowl season in the best season. On New Year’s Day, I watched close football games for almost 12 straight hours. If that is not the best day possible, I do not know what is. Anyway, LSU is ridiculous. They thumped Oklahoma in the playoff which I expected. Their QB, Joe Burrow, went off, setting several College Football Playoff records. The second game was closer. Clemson won on a TD late in the fourth quarter and then a pick to seal it with under a minute left in Ohio State’s endzone. The championship is Monday and even though I am rooting for Clemson, I am taking LSU in a closed game.
My other take from college football is that the SEC is the best conference. The SEC was 7-2 in bowl games and 7 SEC teams on LSU’s schedule played LSU closer than the best team in the Big 12, Oklahoma. It would not be a tough to argue looking back that Florida, Georgia, and maybe even Alabama should have been in over Oklahoma. I would go as far to say that a two loss SEC team should be in over a 1 loss team from any of the other Power 5 conferences.
My biggest take from break is that officiating is becoming a huge issue. Several of the meaningful close games over break had a significant seemingly bad call as a talking point following it. Again, the Saints got the short end of the stick with playoff officiating, which should be talked for a while this off season. The biggest game that officiating was talked about was the Ohio State-Clemson game. I believe both questionable calls were correct, but in a game that close any calls that could be debated will be viewed as wrong by the losing team’s fans. I also say that you cannot blame a loss on the officials, which is true for the Ohio State game as well.
My final take is on the NFL overtime rule. It is ridiculous. No other sport do you see a team score and their opponent not get a chance to match, except for some reason, the NFL. Both teams should get the ball at least once. The Saints lost in overtime because the Vikings won the coin toss and scored to start the extra period. I do not get why the NFL would want it’s most popular and best players to never see the field and lose. I have been saying this since Super Bowl LI in 2017, where the Patriots Tom Brady scored to start overtime without the Falcons Matt Ryan ever seeing the field in overtime.
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