FEATURED SENIOR ATHLETE: Jaylen Windmiller, North Putnam

Thursday, April 18, 2024
Jaylen Windmiller
Banner Graphic/TRENT SCOTT

Jaylen is a senior at North Putnam and participates in four sports, soccer, basketball, baseball and golf.


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

Jaylen Windmiller: “Sports have shaped me into the person I am today. I wouldn’t be where I am without hard work and dedication. The classroom comes first but sports help me drive that because I want to have good grades so I can be out on the field. I’ve learned communication and how to build great relationships with my coaches and teammates, something I’ll have for the rest of my life.”

BG: Talk about your sports.

JW: “With baseball, I’ve been driven to be the best version of myself ever since I first picked a ball up. I push myself to be the best that I can be and helped me elsewhere. In soccer, we won conference this year because we banded together and had a solid team goal. We won the county the last four years in basketball, which shows our hard work and dedication.”

BG: What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you in sports?

JW: “In basketball, I’ve gotten dropped on a crossover, which is pretty bad.”

BG: What does your game day routine look like?

JW: “I go eat, hang out with the team and get ready for the game. I listen to some music, take the field and go out to do my best, which is all you can ask of yourself.”

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

JW: “Since Indiana doesn’t have a professional baseball team, I’ve watched the Cincinnati Reds. I grew up watching Joey Votto and he was the reason I wanted to be at first base in the first place. Some of the pitchers we’ve had on the staff have been super fun to watch. It’s been up and down but this season is looking promising.”

BG: Your class, on the boys’ side, has had a lot of success during the regular season these past four years, winning the Putnam County Classic four years, the Putnam County Baseball Tournament the past two years and even won the county and conference in soccer. With that said, postseason success seems to have eluded all the teams. What has been the biggest takeaway from these endeavors?

JW: “One key thing I took away was you can never overlook a single team in baseball. That goes for every sport but if you overlook a team, you’re going to play down in level; you’ll do whatever you think will get you by and not try your hardest. So you always have to give everything you have. We didn’t give everything we had because we felt we had gotten by the hardest part and could cruise to a sectional championship. That didn’t happen; we fell apart, so you have to give it everything.”

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

JW: “I’m the leader of our mentorship program, Cougar Power, where we give struggling students a big brother or sister figure to look up to, trying to help them down the right path. I’m in NHS, involved in several volunteer projects such as Cougar Care Food Pantry, helped with Gleanor’s Food Pantry, helped with little leagues and stuff like that. I’m also a senior representative for student council.”

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

JW: “I hang out with friends and play video games. For the most part, I like to keep busy. I’ll chill every once and a while but I don’t like having a lot of days where I’m just sitting and doing nothing. I like to be working and making progress toward the end goal of bettering myself.”

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

JW: “When it comes to movies, I like superhero movies, ‘Star Wars’ and stuff like that. I’ve been listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar and Zach Bryan, two very opposite ends of the spectrum. I listen to just about anything but those two are my go-tos right now.”

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?

JW: “I’ll go home and play ‘MLB The Show’ or watch a game on TV with my family.”

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

JW: “I always thought it would be cool to take a trip to California and hit up a baseball game at every major league stadium. That’d be a cool experience.”

BG: What is your biggest fear?

JW: “Not living up to the expectations I give myself. Failure is a part of everything but I don’t like to play to lose. If I do fail, I know where to work from, but I always play not looking to lose.”

BG: You’ve been placed in charge of making dinner. What’s on the menu?

JW: “I’m either going with a frozen pizza or making dino chicken nuggets and fries in the air fryer.”

BG: Do you have any pets?

JW: “I have three dogs, Teddy, Trip and Toby, and two cats, Maria and an outdoor cat that mom calls Momma. The latter one had kittens on our porch, so it adopted us more than we adopted it.”

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?

JW: “My baseball mitt if it’s at home. It was custom made for my grandmother as she had pancreatic cancer, so there’s a purple stripe on it. She made it through a very hard time and that’s always letting me know that times can be tough but it could always be worse.”

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

JW: “I’d probably get a Jeep Wrangler or Gladiator, lifted, blacked out all the way around, fully decked out. I’ve always wanted one of those because you can go hard in the winter then take the sides off in the summer.”

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

JW: “Dedicated. I’m pretty lighthearted and easy going but when it’s time to lock in, I put my all toward something.”

BG: What has been your favorite place to visit?

JW: “My family always goes down to Florida and I love Anna Maria Island. I was down there a few fall breaks ago with my family and it was awesome. We could get everywhere by bike. It wasn’t a gated community but everyone kept to themselves, so you could do a lot of light travel around the island. There was a local shop everyone met up at and it was a cool experience. We also saw a Pirates minor league game that was 45 minutes off the island.”

BG: What was your favorite school field trip?

JW: “We went to the Indians game in second grade, which was a lot of fun.”

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

JW: “My family is 100 percent everything. My parents have been there since day one and were the ones who helped push me to pursue baseball and their support has always skyrocketed since then. I don’t know where I’d be without their support. I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

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

JW: “I’ve liked it here at North Putnam. I’ve had good experiences, long lasting relationships and the teachers here are very nice. They treat you not only as a student but as a person since we’ve had multiple teachers throughout the years, so we’ve created great bonds. A lot of teachers are also coaches and those bonds translate out on to the field.”

BG: If your school was to offer a class it currently doesn’t, what would you want to see taught?

JW: “I would bring back the engineering class that Mr. Hess taught before he had to leave. I took the first course as a sophomore and was going to take the second course last year. It was a whole lot of fun being in that class.”

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

JW: “I will be attending DePauw University to play baseball and study computer science, along with being part of the business fellowship program. My dream job would be to work in computer science or as part of the company that makes ‘MLB The Show’ games, San Diego Studios. That would be awesome as I could still have a relationship with baseball through those games.”

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

JW: “You learn to balance it. Some nights are rough, the ones where you get back at 11 p.m., haven’t eaten dinner and need to shower but you figure out how to get it done. Grades aren’t allowed to slip in my house, no matter what, so I will get my work done no matter what.”

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

JW: “I’ve always been drawn to Ms. Lippencott’s class. She taught three years of math for me and while she makes sure you understand it, we’re always getting stuff done. There’s no down time in her class for sure. It’s always been a challenge for sure but it’s also helped me figure out those harder courses and time crunches, which will help next year as we’re on the road a lot in the front half of our schedule.”

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

JW: “I like the suburban life. We’re right in the middle of everything out by the lake and it’s only a 20-45 minute drive if we want to go anywhere. Yeah, it’d be nice to be in one of those places where everything is right around the corner but, at the same time, you don’t have your own land or place to call your own without someone breathing down your neck. I’d want a few acres of land myself, nothing too crazy, with a nice house on it that I could call my own.”

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

JW: “I’ll definitely miss bits and pieces of it. Freshman and sophomore year, school dragged on, but once I hit the second semester of junior year, it went very fast. Baseball being an eight-week season, being so quick, made it feel like time flew by. I realized this year that, in early October, it didn’t feel like we had been in school two weeks but soccer season was two-thirds over. I wanted to take a second, enjoy things and not blow things off. That’s made senior year last a little bit longer rather than thinking that I couldn’t wait for this to be over.”

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