COLUMN: Ries, McDonald accomplish being four-sport athletes

Lauren Ries

Taylor McDonald
Mark Spensley
Express Co-Publisher

     The Class of 2018 had its fair share of successes on the team level as well as garnering quite a few post-season awards individually. It takes quite a commitment by quite a few individuals to represent your school at State as both cross country teams did.

     Post-season success also followed the girls’ basketball team and the girls’ golf team.

     Individually, two Panther girls were able to make the huge commitment it takes to become four-sport athletes all four years of their high school careers. Making this accomplishment happen were Lauren Ries and Taylor McDonald.

     Ries played volleyball, basketball, golf and softball. McDonald’s four sports were cross country, basketball, track and softball. Both girls indicated to me that looking back over their high school careers, they would without a doubt have still played four sports.

     Technically, both played varsity softball as eighth-graders. And both girls expressed that the memories they made playing sports were their favorite parts of high school.

     When asked about which sport was their favorite one, Ries indicated she liked them all but at the end of the day basketball was her favorite. McDonald narrowed it down to two, softball or basketball, depending on the day.

     For Ries, golf proved to be her most challenging sport. She stated many people tend to overlook how mentally challenging golf could be. McDonald fought through injuries during a couple of cross-country seasons that led to that sport being her hardest. Not just physically but also mentally.

     Both girls were challenged with the time commitment it took to play four sports. Ries made a point that there was never a break. Practices, games and even sports overlapping pushed her. McDonald stressed the late nights challenged her time management skills. Getting home late and still having to do homework though will surely prepare her for whatever the future holds.

     Both girls also told me they felt they didn’t miss out on anything in high school by committing to play four sports and both felt what they gained from those opportunities would have outweighed that.

     Ries and McDonald both felt like their trip to Wells Fargo Arena was the highlight of their careers. McDonald indicated she dreamed of that moment since she was a little girl and Ries thought it was the perfect way to cap off her basketball career.

     I asked both girls if they had any advice for an incoming freshman thinking about playing four sports. Ries would totally encourage playing four sports, highlighting the friendships she made.  And McDonald took it another step by suggesting don’t just stop with sports; don’t be afraid to try new things.

     Finally, I asked both girls if they were going to continue to play sports at the collegiate level. Both told me they considered it but it was time to hang it up and get on with the next chapter of their lives.

     For Ries that is attending the University of Iowa. McDonald will study at UNI. Congratulations to both Lauren and Taylor. It has been enjoyable following your Panther careers as both a fan as well as on the pages of the Monticello Express.



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