FEATURED ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Tyler Kaeff, Cloverdale
Tyler Kaeff is a senior at Cloverdale and participates in football and track and field.
Banner Graphic: What kinds of things have you learned from competing in athletics?
Tyler Kaeff: “Sports are a really important part of my life, and I spend a lot of time on them. I think it has shown off this year, especially in track. I have learned how to be a good leader. I was captain of the football and also captain of the track team.”
BG: What are your plans for after high school?
TK: “I’m going to DePauw to play football and run track. I think it will be tough to do, but with good time management I can do it. I want to be a dentist, so my major is going to be biochemistry.”
BG: How did you decide on dentistry?
TK: “I have always wanted to do surgeries since I was a little kid, but I don’t like blood so I can’t be a surgeon or anything like that. This way I can do surgeries with a lot less blood.”
BG: What do you like best about each of your sports:
TK: “In football, I like the team part of it. It’s great to get a good connection with them and work together. In track, I can have individual goals and records, but you don’t associate as much with people in other events.”
BG: Talk about how football and track have gone for you.
TK: “This year in football was really good, and it got better as our class went along. We got a new coach [Tom Winders] that we could connect with, and he knew all of us really well. We had good chemistry with him and that helped us to do well. I started doing the hurdles in middle school. My coach said that since I was tall, that I should give it a try. At first I wasn’t good at it, but coach [Andy] Tyler was a hurdler in high school and he taught me how to do it really well.. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”
BG: Do you like the low hurdles or the high hurdles better?
TK: “I am better at the lows, but the highs are more exciting to run [because of the danger of leaping a taller hurdle]. I’d say I like the highs better because of that. It is hard to be good at the highs, but it’s more exciting in a straightaway.”
BG: You qualified for the state finals in both hurdles events as a sophomore, but didn’t get out of the regional last year. What do you think caused that?
TK: “This year is going to be different because I have pushed myself harder. Last year I think I kind of expected to go back since I went the year before, and it didn’t get handed to me. That was my fault. I know I have to work for it this year.”
BG: You have also added the high jump this year. How has that gone for you?
TK: “At Owen Valley I went 5-8, but my best this year was 6-0. I have done it here and there if the team needs points in a certain event. I have gotten better at it, and he’s kept me in it. I like doing it. If you’re going higher than 6-0 around here, that’s pretty good.”
BG: What other school activities do you participate in besides sports?
TK: “Nothing regularly, but when there is a chance to do community service I always try to do that. We recently did some cleanup at houses around Cloverdale, and that was pretty satisfying. The people were very appreciative.”
BG: What is your greatest fear?
TK: “Spiders. I can’t stand them. I don’t like how they look, move, feel on you or anything. Don’t even like to look at them.”
BG: What kinds of things do you like to do outside of school?
TK: “I like to hang out with my family a lot and watch movies or play board games. We do that a lot. I like to watch action movies like The Avengers and other Marvel movies. In music, my mom was an alternative person [Nirvana and things like that]. I’m not much of a rap person. I don’t really watch much TV.”
BG: Do you have any special skills that people may not know about?
TK: “I can do a double back flip on a trampoline. I couldn’t do one on the ground, but it’s safer on a trampoline.”
BG: Are you a hunter or fisherman?
TK: “My dad and I go hunting sometimes, but he’s pretty busy and we don’t get to go that much. When I was younger, I went a lot. We shot rifles, and I got a couple of squirrels and a deer. My dad still has that on the wall.”
BG: What are your favorite and least favorite foods?
TK: “My favorite is anything with pasta. Fettucini alfredo and things like that. My least favorite is Chinese food. I’m not a big fan of that.”
BG: If you were to describe your personality in one word, what would that be?
TK: “Enthusiastic. I like to get my teammates motivated and to do the best they can even when it’s something like 400 repeats in track [running repeated laps with a rest break in between]. Everybody hates those, but the faster you do them the faster they are over. I never thought I was in good shape in middle school, but we did those and they really help a lot.”
BG: What are your goals for track this year?
TK: “I’d definitely like to get back to the state. Last year, my times were worse than the year before but they have been better. I ran a 15.1 at our last meet in the high hurdles. My times have drastically increased.”
BG: Do you have any plans on where you would like to live after college?
TK: “I have thought about getting out of Indiana. I’ve always liked the warm weather, and I’m definitely not enjoyed the Indiana weather this spring for sure.”
BG: What has your overall Cloverdale experience been like?
TK: “Cloverdale is definitely one of the best schools ever. I love it here. The teachers are really involved the principals care and it’s a really small school. There is a good connection between the teachers and the students.”