Editors Note: Addie Laskowski, Mary Jackman, and Lilly Ward finished as the runner-ups in the inaugural Journal Review Girl’s Athletic Career Achievement Award. Details about the award and the girls and boys winner will be announced later this week.
This trio might have finished second, but they left a first-place legacy.
Addie Laskowski, Mary Jackman and Lilly Ward finished just behind the winner that will be announced later this week for the inaugural Career Achievement Award, but their accomplishments were off the charts.
They competed in 31 high school sports seasons and earned 31 varsity letters. All three were four-year letter winners in two sports. There were All-Sagamore awards scattered everywhere.
They leave their schools with competitive and leadership holes to fill, and a bold-faced declaration that the multi-sport athlete has not vanished from high school athletics.
The Crawfordsville grad did what few have done. She earned 12 varsity letters in four years of high school athletics. Four each in soccer, basketball and softball.
“I didn’t like the thought of not being the best I could be,” she said. “I especially didn’t like thinking that I couldn’t be better. I hated giving up.”
“Addie literally gave maximum physical effort every single moment she was in competition, regardless of the sport, and regardless of the time and score,” her basketball coach Tony Bean said. “Because of her effort and heart, she was a coaches dream.”
She seemed to be everywhere on the soccer field.
“Addie was an amazing all-around athlete,” CHS soccer coach Laurie Vellner said. “She was able to harness all her talents to be able to play multiple sports. Her love for all those sports played a huge part of her success. Her pursuit of becoming a better athlete is something all coaches look for and Addie had that drive. The encouragement and support of her family allowed her to succeed in not only athletics but academics as well.”
“Addie was very much a goal-oriented person,” softball coach Britney Carpenter said. “She knows what she wants to do and will take initiative to make it happen, which will serve her well as she moves into college and beyond. She always wanted to come through for those counting on her, and that competitive nature made her a great contributor on our team.”
Competing in multiple sports also keeps an athlete visible to the administration.
“Addie had so much natural athletic ability,” CHS Athletic Director Bryce Barton noted. “The mental aspect of her game is what she needed to work on during her time at CHS, and I feel like that happened for her, especially during her senior year, when it all came together. She became a good leader for us.”
The North Montgomery product put 11 letters on her jacket. Four in volleyball and tennis and three in swimming. She was part of four tennis conference championships and three sectional titles. She was also the Journal Review Volleyball Player of the Year as a junior.
“The best part about competing in three sports was the perspective I gained and how I learned to broaden my skill set, and become a more well-rounded person,” she said. “Being a versatile athlete makes you a better teammate because you are able to play wherever you are needed. Each sport presents its own unique challenges and it’s important to learn how to be flexible in your approach to finding solutions. Many of the strategies I learned in tennis and volleyball could be used in both sports, which is an example of how playing multiple sports can make you a smarter athlete in general.”
“Mary and Seth (Johnson) are as good as we have ever produced from North Montgomery,” Athletic Director Matt Merica said. Mary was a great student, a great leader and a standout three-sport athlete. We want kids to be multi-sport athletes and she set a great example for our younger kids.”
“She was a true competitor,” volleyball coach Jodi Webster said. “I could rattle off so many words that describe her. Leader, strength, teammate, hard worker, overcomes adversity, presence, driven are just a few. Her contagious smile will always greet you, but she was a fierce competitor in everything. No matter the obstacle she has faced, she has striven to push through. When I think of a North Montgomery student athlete, Mary is that person.”
“Her involvement as a multi-sport athlete definitely helped her on the tennis court,” coach Shannon Joyce said. Volleyball and tennis have so many skills that can be related, and Mary adjusted well. She achieved many of her goals in four years of tennis and represented our school well, earning several different titles. That involvement in multiple sports teaches Mary and others many life skills.”
Jackman also had the personal tragedy of losing a school-age brother during her junior year.
“After losing Sam I felt a lot of uncertainty,” she said. “I felt that the best way to honor his memory and find an outlet for my emotions was to focus my energy on volleyball. I knew that I had the chance to walk on the court every day and have an opportunity that some kids would never have. I went to the practice every day with the mindset that I would make a difference. More than anything, I appreciated my time playing sports because it gave me a greater understanding of the opportunities I had been given.”
It was four volleyball and four basketball letters for the Southmont grad.
“I played more than one sport because of the deep love I have for both,” she noted. “As a kid, my parents kind of forced me to play as many sports as I could, so I could find a favorite. I loved so many of them I couldn’t pick just one. There was never a favorite between volleyball and basketball. Having to choose basketball over volleyball to play in college was one of the hardest decisions in my life.”
“Lilly always seemed excited and happy to be in the gym,” Mounties coach Dustin Oakley said. “She was so coachable. She was a great leader by example and worked hard every single day. She improved every year, and earned first-team all-conference her senior season. She was also the busiest student-athlete I have ever witnessed. She was in so many activities/sports/clubs. She is a great mentor/role model for so many of our students and athletes. She is one of my all-time favorite students and players, and a great person overall.”
“Not only was Lilly a phenomenal athlete, she was an outstanding leader and wonderful person,” volleyball coach Lauran Nichols said. “She is one of those athletes that leaves her mark on the programs she was part of and will be remembered long after she had graduated. Lilly’s passion for life, sports and people is contagious. One of the things I loved most about her was her ability to excite, encourage and motivate those around her. She always had a positive attitude and smile and her face, while still being a fierce competitor.”
“Leadership was outstanding, not only vocally, but by example,” Southmont athletic director Aaron Charles said. “Worked extremely hard no matter what. Youth girls look up to her and she really enjoyed working with them. Her teammates loved the support she gave them as well. She is one of those student athletes that parents want their daughters to model after. We are going to miss her dedication and smile around this year.”
Advice to young
Taking 31 varsity letters out the doors of their three schools leaves holes to fill, and all three athletes had a thought.
“I have a little brother in junior high who plays multiple sports,” Ward said. “I always tell him that it is pretty cool to be good at one sport, but being great at multiple sports is not only impressive, but makes you a better person. Learn to juggle those schedules. In the end, it made me a better person.”
“Fostering a competitive spirit by competing in different sports is the best environment for personal growth and improvement,” Jackman advised younger athletes. “You learn to work with different people, which maximizes your potential as an athlete down the road.”
“I would tell any younger athlete to have an open mind about things,” Laskowski said. “Whether you are sitting on the bench in one sport, or starting in another, you can still learn, not just sporting advice, but life advice. Win or lose, you learn something.”
With all that experience, and all that success, it would be sound advice to follow.