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Seniors face final competition as Titans

Avery Brasfield
John Fiedler, Caden Miser, Xavier Mallow, 12th, pose for picture.

Every year, Titan athletes have to battle the weight of two options: play their sport at the collegiate level, or end their career as a Titan. Regardless of the decision they choose, every athlete has to face the reality that they will be competing in their last ever high school event. 

For some unsigned athletes, the last game is an emotional conclusion. And for some signed athletes, the final game is just another step in their journey. 

John Fiedler is an unsigned senior cross country and track runner. He is a veteran and leader for the Titan running programs. Fielder was influenced to start his running by a family member. 

“Funny enough, it’s actually my older brother. In sort of a classic little brother move- my older brother Ethan did track and so I just said, you know, if it’s good enough for him, I’ll try it out and see what happens.”

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After four years of running in high school, Fiedler has things that he would do differently during high school, now knowing his future plans.

“Instead of trying to give more physically, I’d probably try and give more to the guys around me and to my team and try and build up a little bit of a better culture from day one,” Fiedler says.

 Fiedler plans to focus on his teammates during hi senior season.

     “The thing I look forward to the most is seeing those guys, compete at the next level and do outstanding effort and work. I had no idea what they could do. It’s incredible to see these guys give 100% effort inside and outside of practice. I’m really excited to see what they’re able to do.”

Unsigned cross country and track runner, senior Aleah Stenger, has mixed feelings about her final cross country season last fall. 

“It’s kind of like a feeling of relief but also like, not at the same time- because doing it is a lot of pressure and stress that you don’t have anymore. So that’s kind of a nice feeling,” Stenger said. 

“I’ve met like some of like my best friends and like the closest people- and so many good memories have came out of cross country,”

Stenger has a new approach for her fourth time around in track. 

“Just like enjoying the time with them and just trying to enjoy every moment, but then also like focusing on running and like trying to make the best out of my last season. Because I know this is the last opportunity I’m gonna get. So just to give it my all.”

Grace Hovey, 11th, Aleah Stenger 12th, Rome Bridger 12th, push each other on a straight. (photo: Avery Brasfield)

Ava Jellen, senior soccer player committed to Missouri Western State, is focused on her goals ahead. Jellen is going into her fourth season as varsity athlete. Her favorite career moment came her junior year, during the district tournament. 

“We were down by one and I scored from a cross from Ava Austin and we went up to each other and just hugged- and just like screamed and it was awesome,” Jellen said.

“I just grew up with her, it was just awesome because it was her senior year, and the game was to get us to go on farther.”

Despite the high school memories, Jellen is ready for her college career.

“I am so excited. I’m ready for the new opportunities and new experiences and just everything about it and just, I’m not ready to be done. So I’m glad that I have four more years.”

“I am ready for the new chapter. I have been for the last two years probably. And I’m ready to just wrap it up in a little bow and send it off,” Jellen said.

Ava Jellen, 12th, catches breath during throw-in. (photo: Avery Brasfield)

Morningside University football commit, senior Seth Allen reflected on his high school career during his last Titan football game, against Elkhor

n South. 

“I just kinda couldn’t believe that it was like, almost over because it actually goes by pretty fast. I know a bunch of people say that, but it actually does-  and it’s just kind of weird knowing that you’ll never play high school football again.” 

“I knew I was gonna play again, but also it’s not the same as high school and you’re not playing with the same people. So, at the same time it made me happy, but like, wow, I won’t play with them ever again,” Allen said.

Mya Lempp, Midland Basketball commit, experienced her senior season ending on a high, where she and her team were able to punch a ticket to state.

“Going to state this year was so, so much fun. The district game against Lincoln Southeast was it was such a good environment even though I couldn’t play in it, but I still had so

much fun also.  And at the beginning of the season, we knew that we had a good team, we were capable of it. So like actually getting there was even better.”

“I was just sad and I just wish it wasn’t over, like I said about the practicing stuff, like I wish I

could practice again, but it was a lot of fun while it lasted,” Lempp said.

Lempp is also excited for her next step.

“I think it’s really exciting. Obviously, it’s a lot more, it’s a lot different than high school basketball and it sucks leaving high school behind, but just knowing that I have a future in the game, I’m really excited for that.”

Senior baseball player Niko Skoufis is a prospect for many colleges. He advises athletes entering their final highschool years that want to play at the next level to appreciate the opportunity they have now. 

“I wouldn’t let the drama of the sport   take you over. I wouldn’t let the little things become big things, and it’s truly just about trusting in yourself and how you’ve worked hard and not let anything take you off that course”.

Skoufis looks forward to playing in college, but will miss the highschool experience. 

Niko Skoufis, 12th, swings for the fences. (photo: Avery Brasfield)

“It is bittersweet- it carries with me everyday. I won’t be able to wake up next year in November and go to a morning practice with Coach Lynam and Bails. I won’t be able to go see my younger teammates that are little brothers to me. I want to end this year on a high note for sure.”

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About the Contributors
Parker Hylok
Parker Hylok, Staff Reporter
Hello! I am Parker Hylok. This is my first year on staff, and I am senior. I have been on the Varsity Soccer team since Freshman year. If I am not in school, you are likely to see me playing soccer, fishing, lifting, or taking a nap. I am super excited to be a part of journalism.
Avery Brasfield
Avery Brasfield, Photographer
I feel like my biggest strength as a photographer is passion. I am constantly wanting to learn more and have more experience. I love to spend my time taking photos. I love the feeling of going home and seeing what I captured. Seeing my growth makes me want to strive harder to be better every day. I love being on the sidelines taking everything in. I also love to capture people that don't normally get the recognition they deserve. Showing people someone's personality and who they really are is my favorite.
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