Opinion

Unsung sports heroes of Valley prep sports can inspire everyone’s effort

They didn’t always get the ink or take home the big trophies. But these Mount Si High School athletes shone in different ways. They show that perseverance and hard work have rewards that go beyond scores and limelight.

Dirty jobs

Griffin McLain, a senior forward and post on the Mount Si boys basketball team, doesn’t post big numbers, but the team wouldn’t have gone all the way to districts without him. According to outgoing coach Steve Helm, McLain does all the vital dirty work for the team, playing defense on all the “big, wrong kids in the league.” McLain gets physical when he needs to, working his keister off in practice. This senior plays his role, and it may not lead to glory. But it helps the entire team.

Overcoming adversity

Molly Sellers was a veteran athlete returning to the Mount Si girls court when she came up against a leg injury. She dealt with that and finally got back to the court halfway through the season. In spite of the challenge, Sellers showed up to every game and practice, acted as captain, and filled her role as best she could, impressing coach Megan Botulinski with her positive energy in spite of the circumstances she was dealt.

Then there’s Elizabeth Prewitt. Only a sophomore, she’s a natural shot—who happens to be one of the most coachable players on the group. When you ask this role player to jump, she asks how high.

Background leaders

Several Mount Si wrestlers didn’t always take down the tough opponents, or wrestle every match. Maybe they had injuries. Maybe, the flu. But they showed their true strengths through mental toughness, attitude and respect. Coach Tony Schlotfeldt will remember guys like Max Kenaghy, Cole Palmer and Justin Edens as these role players. Kenaghy will carry his always-willing work ethic far forward in his life. Palmer spent four years with the program and showed leadership. Edens has great drive and, like Kanaghy, is very respectful.

“They work hard, regardless of what’s happening for them during the season,” the coach said. “Eventually, at some point in their lives, it’s going to pay off.”

Adding depth

Freshmen Mount Si gymnasts don’t always get a lot of credit. Their scores did not always contribute to the overall team score, but Maggie Kenow, Abby Weber and Kalyn Rodne brought depth. Each made it into the top 10 lineup, consistently delivering great performances. They’re also the future of the team, which loses eight seniors this year. Kenow is full of grace, is strong and can tumble. Add growing confidence, and here comes a leader. Weber has power and strength, making the power skills look effortless. She battled back pain in the middle of the season, but, overcoming this, look for her to set high standards. Rodne shows a lot of promise, and her skills can only get cleaner and stronger.

When you look across all of these sports, and consider these athletes, what do you see? I see young people who are motivated, facing and overcoming challenges, yet staying positive. They’re showing examples, not only to their own teammates, but to everyone.

We can’t all be star athletes or celebrities. But we can all step up and show the example of dedication—whether you’re a teenager or are long out of school. Work ethic, team spirit, respect, all translate into truly strong teens, adults and community members. That’s why we should celebrate it.

 

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