Captain from the sidelines

Freshman athlete crosses finish line in one sport only to be sidelined in another due to health

Kelsay Edwards high fiveing her cross country coach, Brent Williams, after finishing in 10th place and receiving a medal before the district meet. (Courtesy of Maria Wray)

For many, adjusting to the freshman year of high school is hard, but luckily for freshman Kelsay Edwards, she had her teammates to help her through this new chapter in life. 

Due to schools shutting down in March of 2020, the last time Edwards attended in-person school prior to this year was in the seventh grade. 

“It’s so weird because I think sixth grade me was so different to who I am now,” Edwards said. “I feel like sixth grade me was still an elementary student, like how did I go from a full year of that to like now having to juggle all this? Where did that switch happen, you know?”

Edwards with her cross country sisters, Kylie Wray (12th), Stephanie Perez (12th), Daniella Gonzalez (11th), Riley Cooper (10th), and Flora Farr (11th), before their meet. (Courtesy of Maria Wray)

Edwards decided to try out cross country this year and ended up being one of the best runners on varsity. While cross country allowed her to improve with running, it provided her with opportunities for both learning and meeting new people.

She said, “I always wanted an older sister. I go out there [the field] and I have five older sisters running with me and pushing me to be a better version of myself.”

While her teammates helped her transition into high school with athletics, Edwards still struggles with her academic responsibilities.

Edwards with her cross country team, Hayden Oesterle (10th), Komivi Tossou (10th), Timothy Potter (10th), Jovanni Rosas (10th), Tony Favella (11th), Roger Sandoval (10th), Flora Farr (11th), Edwards, Riley Cooper (10th), Kylie Wray (12th), Stephanie Perez (12th), Daniella Gonzalez (11th). (Courtesy of Maria Wray)




Edwards hugs her dad after staying in first place during her leg of a 2 mile relay race. (Courtesy of Maria Wray)

“It’s definitely a little stressful having to balance practices, games, and studying because I’m someone that gets very stressed about grades quickly,” she said. “Literally this morning, I’m sitting there, trying to eat my breakfast and crying over a math review and was like, ‘I can’t.’ And he [her dad] was like, ‘Just do it after school,’ and I was like, ‘I can’t!’”

Cross country isn’t the only sport that Edwards balances with her schedule, having participated in soccer since she was in first grade. 

“ I remember begging my mom to play soccer in Virginia.”

Edwards walking onto soccer field in third grade.

Edwards is now a part of the SA City Soccer Club; she has been playing club since seventh grade. She now also plays with the junior varsity girls soccer team at Taft. Unfortunately, coming off a win against Medina Valley after their first scrimmage on Dec. 10, Edwards received some devastating news from her doctor.

With the increase in exercise and an unchanged diet, shortly before her second scrimmage with the soccer team, Edwards decided to go to the doctor with concern about recent weight loss. Because of how quickly she was losing weight with the amount she was working out, the doctor recommended that Edwards take time off from soccer in order to gain back the weight and adjust her eating habits. Edwards says that this will ensure the issues won’t come again while she plays in the future.

“It sucks, but I know it’ll [taking time off] be worth it,” Edwards said.

Despite the setback, a week after her doctor’s appointment, Edwards was chosen to be one of the captains of the JV soccer team having been one of Coach Amanda Garza’s (junior varsity’s girl’s soccer coach)  personal choices for captain.

Edwards, number 9, with her teammates, junior Mia Lambaria 32, freshman Ashley Arceo, freshman Melanie Ledezma, junior Ana Cobarrubias 48, junior Mireya Escobar 42, junior Jaylean Morales 15, freshman Paisley Quarles 26, freshman Abby Wailins 20, freshman Scarlett Salinas, freshman Clementine Leal 52, sophomore Mia Gutierrez 28, sophomore Shan Romero 31, sophomore Rose Castro 3, junior Heidi Cervantes 25, junior Samantha Jenks 43, freshman Isabella Anguiano 46, freshman Allison Rodriguez 30, junior Anali Arriaga 44, after their first scrimmage and win at Medina Valley.

“She works really hard,” Garza said “She does two sports, and she went from a beginner in cross country to being one of their best runners and that stood out to me, how if she could do that for them and never have done that sport, imagine what she can do for our sport.” 

Edwards, however, wasn’t as confident in her abilities as her coach.

“That was really exciting, but that also made me really nervous because I can’t play, so I can’t really be a captain and also I’m a freshman you know.”

Edwards still supports the team every day and showed up for the first district game against Holmes on Jan. 12, 2020 to be there for her teammates from the sidelines. 

“It’s cool because even though I’m not playing I get to cheer [the team] on and keep [the team]going strong,” she said “It was a little sad because I wanted to get in there and play with [the team]and destroy them, [the team] looked like[the team] were having fun.”

She also benefits from watching soccer games,“I think one of my big things is watching people play. I also get to watch it and see how [the team]interact with each other and see how the ball moves and learn how to make it better.”

Edwards hopes to return to the fields as soon as she gets cleared by her doctor.  

“I have a follow up though next week so hopefully I get good news on that.”