Tag Archives: JD McKay

Summer begins with interesting sports

By JD McKay

Summer break is finally here, and with it comes the worst two months in sports. Be prepared for one third of each baseball team’s regular season and Wimbledon starting at 4 a.m. in early July.  

However, the first week gives sports fans some hope. The Cleveland Cavaliers will be playing the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. This series will not be close. The Cavs haven’t had anything going besides Lebron James this postseason. The Warriors will take care of business in four, putting them in a class with the other great NBA teams.

The Las Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural season are playing the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Knights have been a team made up of mostly scrubs from previous teams. However, when they play together, they are obviously playing very well and have a chance to win a championship in their first season. I think they will finish their magical run and win the Stanley Cup in six games.

This is my last column of this school year. I have enjoyed writing this and will be back to publishing my weekly sports columns starting August 1, the first Wednesday of next school year.

FC’s best athletes reflect over their success

By JD McKay

*Editor’s note: These are JD McKay’s top 10 FC athletes from each decade. Who are yours, and why? Comment in the comment section below to recognize other FC athletes.

Special thanks to athletic director Jeff Cerqueira for helping JD McKay get in contact with several athletes.

FC’s 50-year anniversary is coming to the end, and it has been a historic year in sports. FC has won nine conference titles this year and won seven sectionals, but success has been seen in other athletes before the 2017-18 school year. FC has had a Gatorade Athlete of the Year and a Mr. Indiana Basketball, plus a plethora of other All-State athletes.

Jerry Hale, 1971, Basketball

Jerry Hale was FC’s first all-state athlete, and a member of the FC Superhick team. On March 15, 1971 edition of the Daily Herald, Jerry Birge called Hale “a true superstar.”

“Leading that team to Semi-State was my greatest athletic moment. We had gotten a little better every year since our school was created,” said Hale. “We started sectionals by playing New Albany, who was ranked higher than us. Our school was in the middle of fields, so the kids down the hill decided they would make fun of our school by throwing fake pigs onto the ground around the school and wearing bib overalls. After we upset them, our students bought into the hick theme, and came up with the ‘Superhicks’. Then, we went and played number two Seymour. We were down 15 with five minutes left, and came back and won. We scored 41 points in the fourth quarter, and that was without the three point line.”

After graduating, Hale attended the University of Kentucky and played basketball. By his senior season, he was playing in the national championship against the UCLA Bruins.  

When Hale graduated from college, he worked for a coal company for 27 years. Then, he started consulting for National Steel. Now, he is the director of human resources for the Keeneland Association. He is retiring in August.

“I don’t have many plans for my retirement,” said Hale. “I’m probably going to head to Hilton Head Island for a few months. Do some relaxing and declutter my mind.”  

Advice to any student: “FC is a great school, and what you put into is what you get out of it.”

Marilyn James, 1972, Track

Marilyn James was FC’s first female all-state athlete. She was a member of the track team.

“I went to state in ‘72 and finished third in what is now the 200-meter dash. Then it was the 200-yard dash,” said James.

After she graduated, James did not go to college.

“I went to work after I graduated,” said James. “I worked at a department store while I was still in school, then I worked in the home office of Payless Oil Company. This is my 31st year at Mercer Transportation, and I’m retiring in three years.”

James was a member of the first class to start seventh grade at FC and has seen the school change since she graduated.

“I would not even know my way around there now,” said James. “When I go past the school, I cannot believe how the school has changed. But it is just amazing how the school has grown.”

Advice to any student: “Be the best you can be. Don’t ever give up.”

Pat Graham, 1989, Basketball

Pat Graham was an all-state athlete as a senior, winning Mr. Basketball, and became a McDonald’s All-American.

“My biggest achievements were being Mr. Basketball and a McDonald’s All-American. Mr. Basketball was a bigger award to me. That was my first time when I was on the floor and I realized I wasn’t the best player there. I still have a picture with all the players from both teams. When kids I coach come over and see it they are like, “You’ve got to be kidding me,” when they see Jimmy Jackson, Bobby Hurley, and Shaquille O’Neal in the picture with me.”

Staying near home was the clear choice for Graham, eventually choosing to play at Indiana University for coach Bobby Knight.

“I had it narrowed down to Purdue, Louisville, Indiana, and Kentucky, but after my junior season I decided it was either Indiana or Kentucky. I was really 50-50 between the schools. My family liked Indiana, but we weren’t fanboys. However, my dad liked how Coach [Bobby] Knight graduated his players. Then, probably two weeks before I was going to commit is when the UK scandal broke and the NCAA got involved. That made my choice very easy.”

About a month after graduating from FC, Graham went to Indiana University to start training with basketball coach Knight

After graduating from IU, Graham started working for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and did that for two years. Now, Graham works for Progressive Health Rehabilitation and has been doing that for 21 years.

Advice to any student: “In the next portion of your life, think about doing something you will be happy with in 10 or 15 years.”

Stacey Condra, 1988, Tennis

Stacey Condra was won of only five all-state female athletes from the 1980s, and that came from hard work everyday.

“I practiced for about two hours each day, seven days a week,” said Condra.

After Condra graduated from FC, she attended the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

“I got a full tuition scholarship,” said Condra. “I played tennis and got my undergraduate. Then I got my masters degree in exercise physiology and went to medical school.

Since Condra graduated from medical school she has had the same job.

“I am an internal medicine physician,” said Condra. “After I did my residency I have worked in Louisville at Baptist Hospital.”

FC set Condra up for success immediately after graduating.

“FC did a good job of combining athletics and academics. After I graduated, I felt very prepared to go to college and get a job,” said Condra.

Advice to any student: “Find something that you are passionate about and do that.”

Ben Jackson, 1994, Shotput and Discus

Ben Jackson was all-state twice in discus, and once in shot put and holds FC’s record in both events.

“I won state in discus, and won nationals with AAU and U.S.A. track and field in discus the summer my senior year,” said Jackson.

After Jackson graduated, he went to Indiana University and threw shot put, discus, and the 35-pound hammer.

After Jackson graduated from Indiana, he began teaching P.E. at Utica Elementary school.

“My whole family are teachers, so I like the educational part, and I was most interested in athletics so I thought it was a perfect combination,” said Jackson.

FC has had several talented throwers since, but Jackson was the first really talented thrower.

“Once one person is successful, it attracts more people,” said Jackson. “Steven Hnat, he wasn’t the second talented FC thrower. He went on to U of L and threw very well at U of L. Then, [Codie] Hamsley came along and was very good.”

Jackson’s success in high school came at a price. He worked very hard, typically with his dad.

“I remember when Pat Graham spoke to my elementary school. He said he was in the gym in the summer when his friends would be swimming with their friends or on vacation, pay the price. It was kind of the same thing for me and my brother [C.J. Jackson]. My friends would go on spring break. I can remember going out to the field and throwing with my dad,” said Jackson.

Advice to any student: “What you put into it is what you get out of it.”

Jill Schuler, 1993, Track

Jill Schuler was an all-state champion, seven times in three sports. Cross country, track, and basketball, but she was most talented at cross country.

“I won six national championships in track and cross country, individually. I was on a team that won two national championships, and I was a high school All-American,” said Schuler.

After graduating, Schuler attended Ole Miss to run cross country and track.

When Schuler graduated, she worked for YUM brands for a little over a year. Now, she is the Director of Financial planning at Spencerian College.

Schuler is the only athlete in FC’s history to be All-State in three sports.

“Obviously I’m proud of everything that I have accomplished,” said Schuler. “But I also know that I have put in a lot of effort into it. My dad was my coach, and he was right there with me every step of the way and put a lot of time in with me.”

Advice to any student: “It is important to take it all seriously, but not too seriously. You have got to have fun too.”

Jeffrey Thompson, 2009, Baseball

Jeffrey Thompson is the only athletes the school has ever produced earn a living playing his sport. Thompson plays pro-baseball for the Erie SeaWolves, the double A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, but was only all-state in football.

Thompson has enjoyed lots of success in both football and baseball throughout his career.

“My greatest achievement in high school was winning the sectionals in football. In baseball, it was the win against Vanderbilt my junior year in the the last game of the Super Regionals, so we could go to the College World Series,” said Thompson.

Thompson career at Louisville ended after losing the first two games of the College World Series, but he was third in career wins at U of L, fifth in career ERA, and fifth in career strikeouts.

“I was drafted in the third round in 2013 by the Detroit Tigers. I was talking to a couple teams in high school, but my parents were pretty set on me going to college and getting an education,” said Thompson. “Those couple of years at U of L really prepared me for the baseball lifestyle.”

“The minor leagues have been the opposite of what I expected. It has been a grind. But I wouldn’t change it for the World. I get to go play baseball everyday and hang out with my teammates a lot. I’m pretty much having for a job,” said Thompson.

Advice to any student: “Enjoy your time in high school, enjoy being young, and have fun hanging out with your friends.”
Melanie Stutsman, 2009, Volleyball

Melanie Stutsman was a two time all-state volleyball player and All-America, but that was not her greatest accomplishment.

“I went to state three years in a row, that was probably my greatest accomplishment,” said Stutsman.

When Stutsman graduated, he attended Western Kentucky University and played volleyball for four years.

After attending WKU, Stutsman worked at Highland Hills before coming to FC.

“I was an assistant in the Highland Hills PE department. I saw how much that fit my lifestyle because I love sports and athletics, and it just fit my personality,” said Stutsman.

Advice to any student: “Take high school seriously but have fun. Make sure you spend time with your friends.”

Codie Hamsley, 2013, Discus

Codie Hamsley was a two-time all-state athlete in discus, finishing second as a junior, and first as a senior.

“Coming into the state meet, I had a guy right on my tail. I threw 201 [feet] to advance, and he threw 200 [feet], so it was a battle.”

After winning state, Hamsley went to the University of Louisville to throw discus, but had his career cut short because of a shoulder injury.

Now, Hamsley is coaching shotput and discus for FC and working for Jarboe’s heating and air conditioning, but he has bigger plans for the future.

“I’m going to go back [to U of L] and finish my business and management degree. I want to either be the head coach of a college track team or own my own business.

Advice to any student: “Stay in the classroom and get your grades up. I didn’t have the best grades, and I regret that. Especially going into to college, grades are very important. For athletes, just put your head down and work all day.”

Olivia Boesing, Tennis, 2013

Olivia Boesing was all-state all four years she played tennis at FC, but her favorite sports achievement was not about herself.

“In 2013, we finished second in state, that was a very cool moment,” said Boesing.

After graduating from FC, Boesing went to the University of Louisville and played tennis for four years.

Now, Boesing has a job she has been wanting since she was a little kid.

“I’m a first grade teacher at Slate Run Elementary. Next year, I’ll be a fourth grade teacher at St. Barnabas Elementary in Indianapolis. I have always wanted to be a teacher. I love workin with kids and just being able to shape and mold them into the person God created them to be,” said Boesing.

Going to FC has made the past several years of Boesing’s life very easy.

“I think academically, FC puts you in a really good place going into college, and prepares you for jobs. Because of FC I haven’t had a tough time getting jobs because they set you up so well,” said Boesing.

Advice to any student: “Make sure school comes first. Athletics will eventually end, but athletes, make sure you work hard.”

Name Food Restaurant Movie/ TV show Vacation
Marilyn James Grilled Chicken Tucker’s Reality TV Florida
Jerry Hale Swiss Cheese Burger Vincenzo’s Hoosiers Beach with Family
Stacey Condra Ethnic foods Ramsi’s Cafe on the World Modern Family Italy
Pat Graham Chicken Wings Mr. B’s Chicago P.D. Cancún
Jill Schuler Mexican food Malone’s The Office Disney Cruise
Ben Jackson Pizza Qdoba Avengers Disney World
Melanie Stutsman Tacos El Nopal Grey’s Anatomy Mexico
Jeffrey Thompson Bar-B-Que Ribs The Seafood Lady Sportscenter Dominican Republic
Olivia Boesing Pickles Cheesecake Factory This is Us Hawaii
Codie Hamsley Steak Texas Roadhouse A Few Good Men University of Florida Invite

Column: Boys’ track and field set to win sectionals for the 16th straight time tonight

By JD McKay

Last week the Highlanders went into their conference meet, projected to lose by 20 to Jeffersonville, and pulled off the upset, eventually winning by 20 points.

The keys to success in that meet were athletes moving up in seeds and winning the field events and long distance events that they were projected to win.

In the meet tonight, the keys to success do not change. Win the events they are projected to win and move up in seeding in other events.

Throwing events have high expectations. Junior Cam Sturgeon should win discus, and finished first or second in shot put. Sturgeon’s counterpart, senior Clay Miller, should take top two in shot put as well.

The long distance events should have several victories as well. Senior Noah Mets should win the 800-meter run, sophomore David Heinemann will finish top three in the two mile, and his twin, Luke Heinemann will win the one mile.

The sprinters stole a lot of points in conference in their events. Behind junior Jon Gunn in the 100, junior Zach Little in the 200, sophomore Talon Hutto in hurdles, they should win several sprint events.

Bottom Line- The girls’ team won conference Tuesday night, and the boys should be able to match.  After a surprise victory in conference, the momentum boost should play a big part in the victory. The Highlander’s have won 15 sectional championships in row, and I see no reason why that number will end this year.

Unified sport gives students unique opportunities

Photo by Sophia Perigo

By JD McKay

Unified track and field gives students who may not have the chance to play a school-sponsored sport that chance. FC has had a team since 2015. In their inaugural year, they had their best finish, finishing second in sectionals, losing by one point. Then, they placed fifth in state.

The IHSAA website states unified track and field is “The vision of this joint IHSAA / Special Olympics Indiana (SOIN) sports project to allow high school students with and without intellectual disabilities to collectively represent their high school in an IHSAA sanctioned activity by participating together on a Unified Sports® team.”

Unified track and field has five events: shot put, long jump, 100-yard dash, 400-yard dash, and 4 by 100-yard dash. All students are racing together, with the winner earning points by heat. For example, there could be five heats of the 100-yard dash. The winner of each heat gets ten points, second eight points, and third six points. All the way to last scoring one point.

Starting next year, the IHSAA is introducing unified flag football. The IHSAA has not released much about this yet, but they have said that it will be like a typical football season, with a regular season, sectionals, regionals, semi-state, and state.

Next year if FC has a team, go support the team. I went to the unified track meet Monday and it was a new experience. Whenever someone was coming down the last 100 yards of the track and everyone was clapped for them, they found that next gear and went even faster. Imagine how cool it would be for our unified flag football team next year if we had a student section like we had a the New Albany basketball or Providence football games.

Column: Football coach Brian Glesing steps down

By JD McKay

After 11 years and 70 wins, head football coach Brian Glesing is stepping down. His resignation was exciting to some players, but disappointing to others. But one thing can not be disputed — he made FC football into a conference contender.

Glesing came from Clarksville High School after the 2006 football season. He walked into a team that went 6-24 under previous head coach Rusty Cecil and was outscored in 2006 142 to 341.

After going 2-8 in 2007, Glesing’s first season, the Glesing-led Highlanders had four straight winning seasons, including a sectional championship in 2009.

Glesing’s 2009 team was led by quarterback Max Guenther and eventual professional baseball player Jeffrey Thompson at tight-end. That season’s sectional championship was Glesing’s third sectional championship as a coach, and only championship at FC.

After Guenther graduated came the Bramble years. Kyle Bramble was possibly FC’s greatest player ever. Glesing made use of Bramble’s explosiveness and ability, handing him the ball 345 times his senior year for 2875 yards.

Then came his second losing season. The Highlanders lost Bramble the year before and it took a season to recover from losing a player like him.

After his second losing season came the Kimm-Wallace-Klingsmith era, 2013 and 2014. Quarterback Colton Kimm, running back Gage Klingsmith, and wide reciever Adam Wallace proved to be a talented and fast core of offensive players for Glesing to build his offense around.

In 2015, Glesing had his final losing season. But it had its positive moments. About halfway through the season began the Weimer years.

At the start of the 2016 season, running back Jason Cundiff joined quarterback Matt Weimer as the most talented underclassmen. That team was led with by a strong offensive line and talented, hard working seniors, the type of players Glesing likes the best.

The 2017 season proved to be Glesing’s most grueling. He was diagnosed with cancer about one month before summer workouts started and began chemotherapy.

While Glesing spent most of the summer fighting his battle, assistant coaches Alan Hess and James Bragg stepped in, along with the seniors to fill his shoes. Glesing missed the first game of the season against Louisville Male, and aside from one practice a week, never missed a football event. The Highlanders finished 8-3, losing to the Indiana state-champions Columbus East twice, and the best public school in Kentucky, Louisville Male, once. Even with the injury bug attacking the Highlanders in Week Three, he refused to let his Highlanders back down and just ride the rest of the season out.

I will remember Glesing as a great football coach and play caller. As the man who could say “fiddle-farts” with a straight face. And as a baddude, who stared cancer in the face, laughed at it, and said, “You can’t stop me from coaching my football team.”