They got 99 problems but sports ain’t one

Emma Gagliarducci, senior athlete who participates in swimming and cross country.

Claire Wever

Emma Gagliarducci, senior athlete who participates in swimming and cross country.

Katherine Hubbard, features writer

For seven years, Emma Gagliarducci woke up at 4 a.m., headed to her club swim practice, which was followed by seven hours of school. After school she ran six to seven miles for cross country practice and after doing hours of homework, finally went to sleep. Then she repeated the entire process over again.

Gagliarducci, senior, started swimming for Flyers Aquatic beginning at age 10. After about four years of club, she decided to put that aside to focus on swimming and running for KHS. Gagliarducci started to swim for Kirkwood her junior year, and by the end of the year she was off to state with her teammates. Along with swimming this year, she is one of the four captains on the girls’ cross country team. She is top seven of the nearly 70 girls and therefore has to work extra hard during practices and races. Her best time of her running career was 22 minutes and 51 seconds during her sophomore year. With everything on her plate, she said she got overwhelmed with everything that had to be done. The tough commitment of sometimes having two practices a day was very stressful for Gagliarducci.

“It’s a very tense commitment. When practices were before and after school it was hard to manage. I had to work really hard, and it is not an easy thing to do. But it gives you a sense of responsibility and discipline,” Gagliarducci said.

Hava Turner
Hava Turner, sophomore, participates in basketball and track.

Hava Turner, sophomore, is a competitive athlete for Kirkwood’s varsity basketball and varsity track teams. Turner has been playing basketball since kindergarten, and she was the starting point guard last year as a freshman. Along with basketball, she participates in events like the 100 and 200 meter races for the varsity track team. Before running for Kirkwood she ran in the summers for a team in Kirkwood. Turner said the time required for the different sports can be hard to juggle with school.

“It is hard to work everything out because I take some difficult classes with a lot of homework, and when there are two practices a day it is a challenge to get everything done on time,” Turner said.

Corey Nesslage, athletics director, has been overseeing athletes for over 17 years. He works with the athletes at KHS to help them do their best on and off the field or court. Nesslage said the students that participate in both club and school sports later figure out playing for their school can have more benefits because they make strong relationships with their peers, but there needs to be a healthy level of involvement.

“We want students to be involved, that is going to increase the overall experience of high school. On the flip side though, it is important have to be mindful and not have too much on your plate, I think there is a fine balance,” Nesslage said.