Three athletes soar above competition
October 24, 2014
Article by Madison Wegner
Video - "Senior female athletes blazing trails" produced by Kayla Fellers (below article)
“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
This quote by NBA star Kevin Durant can be applied to hardworking athletes at Silver Lake. In some cases comes both talent and hard work. That is the case for several exceptional student athletes. Seniors Kaitlyn Shoemaker and Alyssa Schultejans and Seventh-Grader Grace North have proven their abilities throughout their fall seasons.
Shoemaker, a multisport athlete, has recently broken the cross country school record for the third time since her sophomore year. The time that originally broke the record her sophomore year was 16:43 at Osage City; her junior year she broke the record with a time of 16:21 at Council Grove; and this year she beat the record again with a time of 16:19 at Osage City.
“I am happy that I was able to better my time and be able to break it again. I wish I could have broken it by more than two seconds, but I am very happy that my times have consistently dropped,” she explained.
As the cross country season comes to an end, she has competed in six races this year, placing first at Burlington with a time of 17:17; ninth at Wamego with a time of 16:50; third at McClouth with a time of 16:35; fourth at Council Grove with a time of 16:28; fourth at Osage with a time of 16:19; and lastly placing third at the league meet. She also helped carry her varsity girls’ team to a League Championship on Thursday, Oct. 16.
Coach Kevin Brokaw expressed what Shoemaker brings to the team.
“Kaitlyn is the hardest working person on the cross country team. She leads by example and works hard every practice. She is also a great teammate and supports every member of the team,” Brokaw said.
Success comes with hard work. Shoemaker represents her success by outworking other competitors.
She described her work ethic during the on and offseason.
“I run in the offseason. I was able to log about 230 miles this summer before the regular season started. I also made it to weights every day. I work during the season as much as I can, considering our rigorous workouts are during the week. I will usually do some light running and plenty of stretching,” she explained.
Shoemaker, who will run cross country and track next year at Allen County Community College, shared what her goals are for the rest of the season.
“My goals for the rest of the season are to qualify for state as a girls’ team for the first time since I started my cross country career freshman year. To achieve these goals, I will work hard until regionals, as well as encourage my teammates to get the mindset of qualifying for state,” she described.
Regional cross country will be held at Leonardville on Oct. 25, and state cross country will be held at Rim Rock on Oct. 31.
Following in her senior leader’s footsteps is Grace North, who has won six consecutive races including a league championship. North medaled in Burlington with a time of 6:51; Wamego with a time of 6:24; Wabaunsee with a time of 6:53; Council Grove with a time of 6:45; and Osage City with a time of 6:13. The time of 6:13 is a new Silver Lake Junior High girls’ cross country record. On Thursday, Oct. 16, North won her first league title with a lightning-fast time of 6:15.
Brokaw explained North’s work ethics.
“Grace has done lots of running, both on her own and in track clubs. She is very active and also swims. She is a hard worker. She is competitive and works hard in practice,” he said.
Before meets, North likes to get a good night’s rest to help bring home the hardware the next day.
Shoemaker and North are not the only ones being recognized for their accomplishments. Senior Alyssa Schultejans has also received remarkable honors throughout her high school volleyball career.
Recently Schultejans has been named #32 top recruits in the country for the Class of 2015. According to prep volleyball.com, “Schultejans is a powerful, versitile hitter who made the conversion from middle to six-rotation outside hitter a year ago. After helping the Asics MAVS 16 Blue to a USAV Junior National Championship in 2013, splitting time between middle and outside, Schultejans became the go-to outside hitter for her hometown Topeka Elite VBC last club season. Blessed with a faster than fast arm, Schultejans loves to bang it high and hard but also has great placement. Her block is big and her desire to become a complete player is insatiable. She was named Kansas 3A Player of the Year in 2013 but is hardly satisfied. Her outstanding work ethic keeps her in the gym after every practice getting more and more reps. Passionate about the game and loved by all, Schultejans is a rare gem in Silver Lake, a classy player whose actions speak louder than words. Heading to Kansas State, Schultejans will represent her home state very well in a Wildcat Uniform...”
Head Coach Sarah Johnson expressed her thoughts on Schultejans’ skills.
“Alyssa has a rare ability to perform incredibly from anywhere along the net. She has a great sense of reading her opponents and taking the ball where they are not. She expects much from herself as well as her teammates,” Johnson said.
Schultejans shared her accomplishments so far this season.
“I received All-Tournament team at the Seaman and Hayden tournaments. I feel proud of them, but I am still not satisfied,” she said.
Johnson explained Schultejans’ competitiveness she brings to the team at practice.
“Alyssa is a hard-working, kind young lady that has a seriously fierce swing. She brings this to the court every day. She performs in a way that shows she wants her team to succeed. She is always available to our setter and craves for the ball all the while being a great team leader,” Johnson said.
Schultejans described what she enjoys most about volleyball.
“My favorite part about volleyball is the team dynamic to it. It is a sort of ‘give and take’ sport, meaning your teammates cannot solely depend on you and you can’t depend on everyone else to do your job. Each job on the team is important, whether on or off the court, which makes the sport so special,” she expressed.
Schultejans plans to attend Kansas State University on a volleyball scholarship. She will be graduating at semester to start a new journey filled with multiple opportunities.
She shared what her plans are after high school.
“When I graduate at semester, I plan to attend Kansas State University. I will start classes and practices leading up to spring competition. I plan to better myself as much as possible in order to hopefully get some playing time as a freshman,” Schultejans said.