Athlete achieves goal: six sports in one year

By Ronald MacArthur

The tape is playing: "Mission Impossible III - Your mission, Kyle, should you accept, is to not only do all of your schoolwork, but also take part in six varsity sports during your senior year. You must overcome all obstacles, get permission from six coaches, and modify your schedule to complete this mission as a top priority. As always, this tape will self-destruct in 10 seconds."

It won't be the same without seeing Kyle Shedaker on the playing field representing the Seaford High School Blue Jays. The senior can see graduation in the near future and college is looming in the fall.
Kyle is not your typical high school athlete. He has accomplished a feat no one has even considered. During his senior year he not only concentrated on his three major sports of soccer, wrestling and tennis but also ran track, participated in a swim meet, and kicked for the Blue Jay football team. His familiar maroon colored car resembled a sporting goods shop with clothes and shoes.
Add them up. That's a total of six sports that he participated in during the 1999-2000 school year. The obvious question is why?
To get the answer to that question you have to understand a little about the Shedaker family. If there was a title of Seaford Sports Family of the Year, the Shedakers would win hands down. His mother and father, Bill and Diana, not only work for the school district, they immerse themselves in sporting events as well. More on that later.

The "Big Idea" is born - soccer and football
The idea for the six sports adventure was actually born before Kyle's senior year. "Capt. Dick and the football coaches were always asking me to come out and kick for the football team," he said.
During the summer before his senior year, assistant football coach Mike Smith gave Kyle some kicking tees, and the quest was started. First, Kyle had to clear the idea of playing soccer and football during the same season with soccer coach Tim Lee.
You have to realize that Kyle is among the top soccer players in the state, and one of the best to ever wear the Blue and Gold of Seaford High. He was second team All-State as a junior and first team All-State as a senior. There was an element of risk associated with the decision to play two sports.
"Coach Lee was very supportive, but soccer had to come first, and I could not have contact until after the soccer season was over," Kyle said.
Ironically, a terrible facial hit during a soccer game sidelined Kyle for two weeks from both sports.
Kyle tried to practice both sports each day when soccer games did not conflict with the schedule. For most of the season, he played soccer games on Tuesday and Thursday nights and was suited up on Friday nights for the football team.
During one hectic week, he played three soccer games and football on Friday as well. During that week he scored a goal (he was a defender for the soccer team) and kicked a field goal on Friday night.
After recovering from the busy fall season, Kyle said his father put the thought of trying to double up on sports for the rest of the school year. "Why not, he asked me," Kyle said.

Wrestling is the most demanding of the sports
On the schedule for the winter were wrestling and swimming.
During the winter season, wrestling is a demanding sport that requires dedication like no other at the high school level. "I really had to be at practice every day because you have to earn your spot," Kyle said. The sport drains its athletes both mentally and physically.
Kyle had wrestled at the varsity level for four seasons, and the team and coach Bradd Zullo were counting on him as the emotional leader.
As the two seasons went on, it didn't look like Kyle was going to get a chance to jump in the pool and swim for the Blue Jays. He had cleared the idea of swimming in a meet with coach Susan Nancarrow-Smith prior to the season getting under way.
He did get a chance however and was able to dash over to the Boys & Girls Club pool and swim for the boys' team during one swim meet. "It really wasn't how I wanted it to turn out, but I was able to score some points for the team when they needed them," he said.
Kyle had experience in the pool swimming for the Seaford Swim Association and Community Pool teams during the summers. During the winter, he also found time to play for a local team in the Boys & Girls Club Indoor Soccer League.

Spring season brings a conference title
With four down and two to go, the spring season started. Kyle had played tennis for the past three seasons and was elevated to the number two doubles team with Anthony Nicoletos from playing exhibition for most of his two other seasons.
With the support of tennis coach Phil Burtelle and track coaches John Fabor and Rob Perciful, he was able to fit in both tennis and track during the spring season. Most of his practice time was spent on the tennis court (his doubles team ended up with a 12-0 record and as conference champs), but he was able to participate in several home track meets.
Since the courts and the track are in close proximity, he could practice tennis, run over to the track, and then return to finish tennis practice. On one day, he started out running on the 4x800-meter relay team, then went to tennis practice, and then returned to the track meet to run on another relay team and do the 400-meter run. Just a typical day in the life of Kyle Shedaker.

He was on winning 4x800 and 4x400 relay teams, he finished the 400-meter run in second place twice, and even tried the high jump during one meet.
"By far the spring schedule was the easiest," Kyle said. "The schedules did not really conflict that much, except for the conference meets."
By the way, during the summer Kyle plays soccer as much as possible and on as many teams as possible. "And I might have a chance to finally play with Coach Lee this summer now that I don't play for him," Kyle said.
So what about baseball? It's the All-American sport and Kyle is the All-American young man. Been there, done that. Kyle played in the Nanticoke Little League through the Senior League and played on All-Star teams in two Eastern Regionals (Major and Junior leagues).
His love of soccer forced him to prioritize and baseball was the one sport that went by the wayside.

Kyle's perspectives on the sports he played
"Soccer is my first love and it's the sport I'm best at," he said. "I play it all year and that's what it takes to be the best in a sport."
Wrestling is the "family" sport. His sister, brother-in-law, and nephew are always at the matches and his father keeps the clock and his mother keeps the scorebook. To Kyle, wrestling was the most demanding sport by far. "No one can really say they like wrestling practice, but it teaches you a lot about life. It's one-on-one out there on the mat and you can't blame anyone but yourself.
"There was a lot of pressure on me in the sport, and I lost some matches that I shouldn't have. I even thought about quitting," he said.
"But I had to learn from it and stick with it. It's not where you start, but where you finish," he added.
In contrast, there was little pressure from the tennis program. Kyle, who went from a novice without ever having a lesson, to a conference champion, said, "I love the sport because it's so much fun."
The football experience has left a mark on Kyle and has produced one of his few regrets - that he had not doubled up with soccer and football before his senior year. "The football program is like a family. Capt. Dick really supported me. It was a tremendous experience to have been part of that tradition."
Track is another sport that Kyle could have excelled in prior to his senior year because of his natural speed.
"Track really binds it all together. Not only are you going one-on-one but you also participate as part of a team on the relays," he said.

Accomplishments mount in his senior year
Kyle's accomplishments during his busy senior year are noteworthy. He was a tennis doubles conference champion and seeded number one in the state (he and his partner are currently playing in the state tournament).
He was first team All-Conference (and the number one player in the Northern Division and Seaford Player of the Year) and first team All-State in soccer, and he played on the Blue-White All-Star Game. He and friend and 1999 graduate Brook Riggleman hold the record for the number of career soccer victories at the high school.
On the wrestling mat, he was second in the conference, fifth in the state, and won several invitational titles in his weight class. He is the first Seaford wrestler to attain 100 career victories
On the football field, he kicked five field goals (one was 32 yards), extra points, and kick-offs.
At the end of the season, he was on the kick-off return and punt teams (he did make contact).
He would have received post-season honors for kicking had the soccer injury not sidelined him for three football games.
Other Seaford High athletes have participated in two sports during the season, but no one has taken it to the extreme that Kyle did.
He hopes that his experience will lead the way for others to expand their horizons.

Looking ahead and the reason for his success
This fall Kyle will take his boundless energy and enthusiasm a little north to Eastern College, a Christian school just outside of Philadelphia.
He will be majoring in physical education/exercise science (no surprise) and playing college soccer (Division III).
"I wanted to go somewhere small where I wouldn't just be a number. It's been my dream since the ninth grade to play college soccer and now it's coming true," he said.
David Leach of Seaford, a standout player for the Seaford Christian Academy, also plays soccer for Eastern College.
Can Kyle be pinned down to just one sport in college? "If it's there, I'm going to try it. I plan to play a lot of intramural sports and I really would like to try lacrosse," he said.
There is no doubt where Kyle gets his positive outlook and dedication.
"My parents are number one. They have rarely missed an event, and if they did miss it, there was a good reason for it," he said.
There is also no doubt that the mileage on their vehicles will increase dramatically during the fall college soccer season.
His father Bill also is the announcer at boys' and girls' soccer games (Kyle does not play that sport, but he's usually there as a fan).
"My parents have always taught me to have a good outlook, to be appreciative and let people know that you are appreciative. I've always tried to be a good role model," he said.
Kyle is also not bashful. He is known for his heartwarming talks at banquets and he recently spoke at his church thanking members of the congregation for their support over the years. He even takes the time to write notes to people who support him.
The love of sport and competition drives Kyle. He said that the following credo is what he tries to live by:
"Don't come to bow, come to conquer." That means that he comes to win, and the final score has absolutely nothing to do with it.