Balancing athletic and academic commitments can be challenging for any student-athlete – which Chestermere High School senior Shaelynn Doughty, who set a school record this year by competing for seven different Lakers sports teams, knows first-hand.
The 18-year-old played on the senior girls’ squads for volleyball, basketball, curling, ultimate Frisbee and rugby in 2018-19, while also representing the school in badminton and track and field.
Despite her heavy workload throughout the school year, Doughty said, juggling so many different sports is second nature.
“Other people might think it’s difficult, but I’ve been doing it since Grade 7, so it really wasn’t any different than usual,” said Doughty, who also played club basketball for the Chestermere, Langdon, Strathmore (CLS) Minor Basketball Association.
“Some of them, like basketball and volleyball, I play on a regular basis. Some of them, I just got invited to play, and had a good relationship with the teacher who was coaching. They asked me to play and I thought, ‘Yeah, that sounds like fun.’”
Doughty said there were many highlights from her final year of high-school athletics, including when the volleyball team made it to the Alberta Schools Athletic Association (ASAA) 3A provincial championships for the first time.
She also earned a provincial bronze medal in badminton and was one of just two Chestermere High School students to qualify for the ASAA track-and-field championships, where she finished eighth in the senior women’s one-kilogram discus event with a top throw of 26.80 m.
Even with her busy schedule, Doughty said, there was only one instance where she had to make a choice between two competitions – when she decided to forego a rugby tournament to play at the ASAA badminton championships.
“It was a hard choice, because rugby was in Jasper and it was the only away tournament for us this year, but I ended up going to the provincials for badminton,” she said. “It was the right choice for me, because I ended up getting bronze.”
She credited her teachers with helping balance her athletic schedule and academic workload.
“I couldn’t do the things I do without them,” she said. “Just having that good relationship and submitting projects early, if need be, or getting extensions if I was really pressed for time.”
She said rugby is her favourite sport to play, along with basketball, which she has participated in for most of her life.
“There’s some natural athletic ability in my family – everyone plays sports,” she said. “That’s just the way my family has raised me. I also work out with my brother a lot, so there’s a lot of hard work and training muscles.”
Doughty said she was surprised to learn she had set a school record.
“I thought Cadence Meszaros had seven last year, but she only had six, apparently,” she said. “I didn’t even know that I did seven. I knew what I did, but I didn’t really think of it until everyone was like, ‘It’s a school record,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, OK.’”
Having just completed her final round of diploma exams, Doughty said she will attend St. Mary’s University in Calgary next year to study biology while coaching a CLS basketball team.
Due to persistent knee and shoulder injuries, she said she plans to take all of next year off to rehabilitate. However, she added, she plans to try out for the St. Mary’s basketball the following year.