Most Valuable Players
Apr 17, 2014 08:39AM ● Published by Anonymous
Photo courtesy of Rex Teter.
By Linden Wilson
Year after year, Dragon athletes continue to outshine their competition, whether they’re winning back-to-back state championships or named to an All-District team. Many of Southlake Carroll’s talented sports stars sign on to play at the university level at schools throughout Texas and across the country. This spring, we’re talking to Cat McCoy, Jonathan Roberts and Michael Basler — three outstanding student athletes who are excellent examples of how passion, perseverance and teamwork are all key ingredients in the recipe for success.
At this year’s 5A state championship, senior Jonathan Roberts defended his title in the 500 freestyle with a 4:16:90 — one of the top five times in the race’s high school history — and was crucial in leading his team to their fourth straight state title. The Texas commit boasts a long list of career achievements but says none of it would be possible without the support of his coaches and teammates.
When did you first become interested in swimming?
I had a natural feel and love for the water at an early age. I started swimming summer league when I was 5, then realized at 7 that I wanted to participate in swimming year round. I enjoy the camaraderie and friendship. We learn discipline, time management and goal setting.
How many hours a week are you in the pool?
I am in the water up to 20 hours a week and doing weights, core exercises, yoga and stretching an extended five or so hours. Workouts can be very strenuous, especially when you are doing them as early as 5:45 or 6 in the morning.
What career moment are you most proud of?
Making the Junior World Championships during the summer of 2013 and being able to represent the USA in Dubai. It was a huge stepping stone in my career, and it motivated and humbled me greatly. Competing with the fastest 18-and-unders in the whole world made me realize how far I have come in this sport and how far I can go.
How do your teammates inspire you?
Coming onto the Carroll varsity team as a freshman, I was enamored by the juniors and seniors who had just come off of a revered second-place finish at state. They pushed me and helped me achieve things my first two years that I once thought impossible. As a senior, things were tough. We lost a large pool of talent and great leaders. For energy and inspiration, I looked to the freshmen on the team who came in with such zeal. Without them, things would have gone very differently.
What are you most looking forward to about swimming at the collegiate level?
For most swimmers, collegiate swimming is the pinnacle of the sport. It will offer me the opportunity to continue leaning how swimming mirrors life and will provide me with new friends, teammates and outstanding coaches. When looking at colleges, Texas was the clear choice and the complete package. I really like Austin as a city, and UT has so many excellent options academically. It felt like home.
Volleyball phenom Cat McCoy has been named an All-District Defensive MVP, Under Armour High School All-American First Team honoree, one of Volleyball Magazine's Girls 30 Underclassmen to Watch and LoneStarVolleyball.com’s Outstanding Libero/Defensive Specialist. Currently a senior, the 5’ 7” athlete is committed to play next year at the University of Texas.
When did you first develop an interest in volleyball?
I was in third grade. My friends and I started on a Southlake parks and rec team, and I’ve loved it ever since. The quick pace of the game appeals to me. I play libero, which is the defensive position. Playing defense requires you to be quick on your feet and to be able to read the hitters.
What is your most memorable experience from your high school volleyball career?
Advancing to the state tournament this year. It was the first time the Lady Dragon volleyball program made it to the state tournament in 5A history. We beat one of our rivals, Colleyville Heritage, to get there.
What moment are you most proud of?
Winning the national championship this past summer with my club volleyball team, TAV 17 Black. We went through the most rigorous and mentally challenging year any of us had ever experienced. Our coach, Ping Cao, was on the Chinese Olympic team, and his expectations from each of us were very high. We practiced and conditioned almost five days a week, and we were on a strict diet. We sacrificed so much for the ultimate goal, but everything we went through was worth it. Winning the gold medal and becoming the number one team in the nation was the best day of my life.
Who do you look up to?
Growing up, I looked up to Misty May-Treanor because she is an amazing athlete with a great attitude that I really tried to emulate. Right now, one of my all-time favorite volleyball players is Natalie Hagglund. She was the libero at USC the past four years, and she is hands-down the best defensive player I’ve ever seen. The way she leads her team and carries herself is inspiring.
What is your definition of success?
Success is not something you can put on a to-do list. Rather, it is a state of being. In my opinion, if you are happy in life, then you are successful.
Michael Basler won a state wrestling title in the 160-pound weight class this year, but the senior is also an accomplished left-handed pitcher. He says he’s most proud that he could excel in two difficult sports and make good grades during all four years of high school. Although Michael hasn’t decided where he wants to go to college, he wants to continue playing baseball at the university level.
How old were you when you began wrestling?
I got into wrestling in the second grade. My dad took me to a practice, and I just went on practicing and getting better and better. I like that wrestling is just two guys — whoever wants it more in the end will come out victorious.
What is your training like?
I practiced every day for two hours. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I had an extra practice. I would work out in the morning before school as well and go to the gym at night.
What has been your most memorable moment from your high school wrestling career?
It would have to be winning state or going to Las Vegas and wrestling there, getting third. Vegas was such a fun tournament because it was so fast-paced. I wrestled seven matches in about four hours, which was pretty crazy — finishing one match and going immediately to another mat to wrestle the next. Winning state was such an amazing feeling, knowing that all the hard work I had put into the sport had finally paid off.
What do you enjoy about baseball?
I love playing baseball because of how challenging the sport is. It’s so much fun to play with all of your teammates. Compared to wrestling, it’s so laid-back and more relaxing. My high school career as a pitcher has been a lot of fun. I've been successful throughout high school and summer, and my teammates have been the best anyone could ever ask for. I love them all.
How do you define success?
Reaching the goal you have set for yourself and going further. I was never happy with what I accomplished until I was the very best at it, so success to me is being the absolute best you can be and looking back knowing you gave it everything you could possibly give.