‘12-sport’ athletes fuel school sports

Justin Carlson | opinion editor

Wabaunsee is chock-full of athletes, but only a select few play every season possible. These “12-sport athletes” have committed so much to their high school athletic careers and that is an accomplishment worthy of accolades.

Starting this year, instead of celebrating a female and male athlete of the year, WHS plans to honor 12-sport athletes for each graduating class.

The class of ‘22 welcomes three new members to the 12-sport club: Kaelyn Conrad, Kara Hafenstine and Madisyn Havenstein. All three played volleyball, basketball and softball. They have gone above and beyond to compete in the sports they love (or at least tolerate).

Technically, these ladies only were able to play 11 seasons due to the COVID outbreak in the spring of 2020 which kept athletes across the nation from competing — but we gave them a break. They shouldn’t be punished for influences out of their control, and each intended to play that season.

Similarly, Madisyn suffered an injury during the summer of 2021 which left her unable to compete during volleyball and basketball season, but she contributed as a manager the entire season, so she gets her inclusion also. 

The girls each said that sports have had a big impact on each of their lives.

Kara said, “sports have had a huge impact on my life ever since I was little. Through playing so many sports I have learned lots of life skills like teamwork, leadership, dedication and commitment. Sports have also given me some of my best friends which I am very grateful for.”

Kaelyn said, “sports have shaped me into the person I am mentally and physically. They have provided me opportunities I wouldn’t have received unless I played.”

Madisyn said, “Sports have impacted my life tremendously. I’ve been playing a sport, which is what I love doing, for almost my whole life. Growing up l always played volleyball, softball, and basketball, along with flag football and a little bit of gymnastics. These sports help me bond with my teammates and become a better player.”

So much dedication to an activity is bound to come with some sacrifices, whether that comes in the form of injury or just time. 

“During school season sports I don’t have to sacrifice near as much as during the summer,” Kaelyn said. “The past three years I have had days when I have

multiple practices and weights each day, sacrificing a social life other than when I’m working. During the summer I also play competitive softball and I play in tournaments almost every weekend of June and July so I can’t hang out with my friends on the weekends.”

Madisyn also made sacrifices. “For softball, I would have to give up almost all of my weekends to play, but that is fine with me. I also would have to give around 10 hours or more a week to softball practices and games. I have to give up most of my time to practice school sports during the summer as well.”

Kara didn’t feel that her time was a sacrifice. “In the summers I give up all of my weekends so I can play traveling softball, which definitely sucks sometimes when you just want to hang with friends or go to the lake for a day. All year round I also have multiple practices stacked on

top of each other throughout the week so I don’t get very much free time for homework or just time to relax.”

After so many years of commitment, most athletes would be more than happy to continue playing at a higher level. This is the case for all three of our 12 sporters. All three will continue to play softball in college, Madisyn at Allen Community College, Kaelyn at Johnson County Community College and Kara at Ottawa University.

Five juniors are currently on track to be 12-sport athletes next year.

Pictured above: Seniors Kaelyn Conrad, Madisyn Havenstein and Kara Hafenstine pose before softball season. Each student is a 12-sport athlete, having competed in volleyball, basketball and softball all four years of high school. Each has signed to play college softball. Photo by Jason Kephart.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: