FEATURED SENIOR ATHLETE: Wyatt Kendall, South Putnam

Friday, March 29, 2024
Wyatt Kendall
Banner Graphic/TRENT SCOTT

Wyatt is a senior at South Putnam and participates in three sports, football, swimming and track.


Banner Graphic: How important are sports to you, and what have you learned from them?

Wyatt Kendall: ďSports are so, so important. Sports are a great way to keep yourself accountable. Iíve found when I do a difficult sport, a lot of the time, even my academics improve. Because youíre on a time crunch, it forces you to manage your time. Iím a competitive person who loves winning but hates losing more. Itís been great to explore that side of me and try new sports. I had never kicked before my freshman year; I did it for four years and had a blast. Itís a great way to meet new people and see a different side of yourself.Ē

BG: Talk about your sports.

WK: ďKicking is more of a mental battle, not so much a physical one. Itís great to be your own unique position on the team. Itís weird when I roll into my winter sport, swimming, as itís almost the complete opposite. I put my head down and go. Swimming has been a big part of my life; almost from the time I could walk, I was thrown into the pool. Itís been a lot of fun. Through all my teams, swimming has had a great culture and great group of guys all the time who are accountable. Iíve also realized what a great culture track has since most of the same guys that swam also run track. Itís been great to come back and itís a chance to work hard and move forward. I also play travel soccer and have picked up pickleball recently.Ē

BG: Whatís the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you in sports?

WK: ďIíve missed a fair few field goals and kicks in my life. You know you have 100s of eyes on you when you miss. If you have your goggles off in swimming, only a few people see that.Ē

BG: What does your game day routine look like?

WK: ďFor track, the day of the meet, wherever it is, itís important to go about the day like I would any other and not make it special. I focus on my academics and schoolwork, keeping my mind off the meet. Once school ends, then you can start mentally preparing for what youíre putting your body through and whatís important that day. Music has always been important for me so Iíll have a pair of headphones on, listening to a gameday playlist an hour before the meet. Getting in the zone is important and music is a good way to do that.Ē

BG: Do you have any favorite college/pro sports teams or athletes you follow?

WK: ďI donít keep up with much swimming stuff but I watch a lot of NFL games and highlights, watching the kickers. Jason Myers of the Seattle Seahawks is a lot of fun to watch. Itís a lot of fun to watch someone do what you do but flawlessly and effortlessly. Itís great to watch what he does.Ē

BG: Youíve been out of track for a couple of years but also noted earlier many of the same people who swam also run track. How have those connections helped ease you back into the sport?

WK: ďThe similar culture between swimming and track, as you have a lot of the same guys going through both, has been great because while itís an entirely different sport, being on land instead of being in the water, the people Iím around with are still the same and the vibe is the same. Nothing really feels that different other than what youíre doing.Ē

BG: What else do you do at school besides things involving sports?

WK: ďIím involved in some student organizations like NHS and student council. Itís a great way to keep tabs on friends but also a great way to meet new people. Even in NHS, youíre doing community service, which gives you the opportunity to participate in things like Teen Court at the courthouse and explore new areas of the community you wouldnít otherwise.Ē

BG: What do you like to do outside of school and sports?

WK: ďUsually hanging our with friends and families. Last summer, I met up with a friend who graduated the year prior from South Putnam and we would go play pickleball every other day or play airsoft with friends on the weekends. Iím a very social person and any chance I get to be social and interact with friends is good. As a senior, you realize time is running short with your friends and classmates.Ē

BG: What are your favorites in reading, movies, TV and music?

WK: ďWhen it comes to shows and movies, Iím a big drama person but also like documentaries. I like movies like ĎOppenheimer,í ĎDarkest Hour,í ĎInterstellarí and ĎInceptioní are great movies that make you think while youíre watching them. Any kind of film stuff along those lines I enjoy a lot. You get into your own mind watching those, trying to figure out whatís going on and try to think youíre way through them. Iíve read some nonfiction books recently but grew up reading the ĎHarry Potterí and ĎPercy Jacksoní series as itís fun to let your imagination go wild, to think about the possibility of what those books brings.Ē

BG: Are you a person who wants to watch TV shows and movies or stream something from YouTube, Twitch, TikTok etc. or do something else with your free time?

WK: ďIf any of my family members are at the house, I would invite them to play ping pong. We got a table a couple of years ago for Christmas and the amount of fun memories I associate with that piece of equipment are uncountable. Itís a great way to indulge my competitive side and still bond with the family. Itís been a lot of fun doing that.Ē

BG: What is something you have never done before that you would like to do someday?

WK: ďSkydiving. My mom went when she was 18; Iím sure it terrified her but I think it would be interesting. If I had Tom Cruise as my neighbor, Iíd ask him to take me skydiving every day. It seems like a lot of fun.Ē

BG: What is your biggest fear?

WK: ďLetting people down. I hate that feeling. I want to be respected but also counted upon. Being loyal is an important attribute in my life. When someone asks you something and you donít pull through, itís very frustrating. I care about the people Iím around and donít want to put them through something they donít want to.Ē

BG: Youíve been placed in charge of making dinner. Whatís on the menu?

WK: ďI can make breakfast foods; Iím decent at that. I would make some sort of breakfast burrito. I can make decent scrambled eggs; we have chickens at home, so Iíd take a couple, whisk those in a bowl, add milk and 21 Saloon seasoning, which is amazing, let the eggs cook, make some bacon, maybe some chorizo sausage and add some cheese. I know how to wrap a burrito, so Iíd make four solid burritos and call it a night.Ē

BG: Do you have any pets?

WK: ďWe did have a dog named Ada that I grew up with. It was an awesome dog. As a family, weíve been thinking about getting another animal; Iím hoping itís a dog. I love having companions and animals. Iím hoping itís something that will happen.Ē

BG: If your house were on fire, all living things were already out and you have your keys, cell phone, wallet/purse etc., what is one thing you would go back and get?

WK: ďIf I could take it out, Iíd get our ping pong table. I donít own a lot of items in my room I value but that ping pong table, Iíd hate to lose that. If I could lug it out, I would.Ē

BG: A family member has hit the lottery. After everything is paid off and money is set away for the future, youíve been asked to buy something you have always wanted to get. What are you asking for?

WK: ďThe first thing we would agree to do is probably take a trip to a different country. My parents went to New Zealand last summer and said it was great, so some place like that or Switzerland. It would be cool to spend two weeks out in a whole different county and culture.Ē

BG: If you were to describe your personality in one word, what would that word be and why?

WK: ďDetermined. Iíve always been great at focusing on one thing. Iím not great at multitasking. If Iím taking notes in class and a teacher is talking, I canít do both. When it comes to doing one thing, Iím very good at buckling down and doing the work, whether itís academics or sports. I strive to be the best and hate walking away from something knowing I could have done better. Iíve always been very determined to make sure that doesnít happen and if I feel I could do better, Iím determined to keep pushing and improving myself in any way I can.Ē

BG: What has been your favorite place to visit?

WK: ďI went to Italy over fall break sophomore year. It was a whole different culture and I didnít know what I was doing but it was still a great experience. The food and pasta was a lot better, the sights in Venice and Rome, it was just something you canít replicate here. It was awesome.Ē

BG: What was your favorite school field trip?

WK: ďThe Italy trip. It was part of the service the school provides, bigger trips to different countries. Weíve taken some smaller ones, like to Chicago, but nothing prepares you for a whole different country.Ē

BG: How important is support from your family and classmates to your success?

WK: ďModerately important. Itís always great to feel and be supported from your family. Itís nice to come home at the end of a semester and your parents congratulate you for making all As for a semester. Itís also great to have a friend congratulate you after swimming a PR. I wouldnít say I necessarily need or rely on that support. Iím OK doing my own thing if I know it is the right thing, to take actions to succeed. Iíve grown to accept that you donít always get support for things and you just have to keep plugging away at it.Ē

BG: Describe your overall school experience both academically and athletically.

WK: ďWhen I started in middle school, I didnít really know what I was getting in to and maybe didnít enjoy South Putnam at first. Then again, most people donít enjoy their life as a middle schooler anyway. Once youíre older, are a little more mature and understand what other schools offer academically and in terms of sports, I realized that Iíve been really happy here. Itís a small world here at South Putnam but Iíve been blessed with a great senior class. Itís been awesome to do a lot of the same extracurricular activities. There have been a lot of wonderful teachers at South Putnam like Mrs. Hodge and Mrs. Dickson. Itís great to have role models like that in your life who have supported you all along the way. Itís a small school but because of that, the teachers know you personally and help you develop academically. Iíve been very satisfied with my time at South Putnam over all these years.Ē

BG: If your school was to offer a class it currently doesnít, what would you want to see taught?

WK: ďI would love for them to teach psychology. The school used to offer it when I was a sophomore but when the teacher left, they stopped offering the course. Psychology is so fascinating to me. Itís so fascinating to see how the brain works and if you understand how your own mind works, you can make better decisions and be a more informed person. Itíd be beneficial for anyone to take it and fascinating Iíll get out.Ē

BG: What are your plans for after high school, and what career are you headed toward?

WK: ďI plan to attend Carthage College, a smaller to medium size college in Wisconsin, planning to do a dual major in exercise science and psychology. After completing a bachelorís degree in both, I want to move on to graduate school to obtain a masterís and PhD in sports psychology. I love sports and psychology and it is a great way to find out what is going on in athletesí minds during a performance. Then I want to return back to a college in the area, like a DePauw or Butler, to help those athletes in the future.Ē

BG: Is it difficult to keep up with your school work being an athlete?

WK: ďThere is a stereotype that there is; personally, I say no. Sports teaches you to better manage your time, so I think itís the opposite of what people think. Being an athlete helps your academic studies as you have to learn how to not procrastinate, or at least not as much. Some people still will, but itís beneficial in that sense.Ē

BG: Which particular classes and teachers have helped you the most in high school?

WK: ďI had good classes and teachers my junior year. I took an AP Biology class with Mrs. Hodge and that was just wonderful; a wonderful teacher who knows how to teach well in a class that was tough but also a fun class to learn about. I also took an AP U.S. History class with Mr. Welti. There was a great group of people who took that class, around 20 or so, many of them my closest friends, and so it was great. We had a great teacher in Mr. Welti, who is fun to be around, and also learned a lot about U.S. history.Ē

BG: In the future, once youíve established yourself, if you had your choice, would you want to live in the mountains, on the beach or in the neighborhood?

WK: ďI might be biased from growing up in a rural area, but being able to drive around, having your own land, property, woods etc. but also a close enough drive to get to places means I would rule out any urban or city properties. I donít think I would want to live in a big city, so I would live some place rural, but suburbs do appeal to me. As long as I have a lawn, fresh green grass or trees around.Ē

BG: Do you think high school has gone fast, and are you going to miss it?

WK: ďFor the first three years of high school, it goes pretty slow, but as a senior, it flips on its head and you realize things feel like theyíre going very fast. Iím going to be a little sad to graduate. I know a lot of people are happy to go to college but for me, itís weird, being in this small world for so long, to finally leave it. I almost donít want to leave it because I know it so well and am so familiar with it. Itís going to be weird to be in a different environment and setting.Ē

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