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Kelsey Weddington, Willis Diving
SENIOR KELSEY WEDDINGTON IS “THAT GIRL” AT WILLIS HIGH SCHOOL. SHE’S IS EVERYWHERE.
Not only is she in the top-two percent of her graduating class, she also happens to be a premier diver for the Willis swim and dive program. She didn’t always know that diving would be in her future, but she’s ascended to the point of reaching the UIL-6A State Meet a year ago.
To top it off, Weddington patrols the sidelines as a Willis cheerleader as well. Given her exceptional standing, we had to figure out what makes her tick.
This is the 411 with Willis High’s Kelsey Weddington.
VYPE: How did you get into diving? Why that sport?
WEDDINGTON: “I was originally in gymnastics, but I kept getting hurt. It was too much of a strain on my body, so I got into diving. It really appealed to me. I’ve been diving since the summer of my eighth-grade year. I’ve done club diving, so I’ve gone to Nationals and have found success in the sport.”
VYPE: How did your experience in gymnastics help you in diving?
WEDDINGTON: “It has helped with my technique, like being able to flip. It took me some time to get the hang of it because going from a gymnastics floor to a diving board was a different experience.”
VYPE: What do you do outside of diving? What are your other interests?
WEDDINGTON: “I do high school cheerleading. It’s really not super different, given all the flips we have to do."
VYPE: What do you see yourself doing in the future?
WEDDINGTON: “I hope to dive in college one day. My dream school would be an academy, such as the Naval Academy. I want a school that challenges me and allows me to grow. Plus, I would have the opportunity to serve my country, which is another appeal.”
VYPE: What are you watching these days?
WEDDINGTON: “Right now, I’m watching ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ on Netflix. The new season was released, so I’ve been getting into that when I have the chance.”
VYPE: What’s something about you that makes you unique?
WEDDINGTON: “I have a twin brother, Christian Weddington. He’s a wrestler here at Willis. We’re kind of close, and it’s pretty cool that we both go here. For example, during STAAR testing we’ll always sit next to each other. I love that."
Eleanor McDonald of the Willis Sweethearts
WHEN IT COMES TO THE VIBE AT WILLIS HIGH SCHOOL UNDER THE FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, IT’S HARD TO MISS THE ICONIC SWEETHEARTS DANCE GROUP.
The flashy silver and purple uniforms moving in unison can make it difficult for any, one dancer, to stand out.
However, the team’s captain, senior Eleanor McDonald, has found ways to do just that.
“I first started dancing when I was three years old, and I’ve been at the same studio (Backstage Dance) ever since,” said McDonald. “My mom put me in dance because my younger sister was born, and she wanted me to feel special.
“I’ve stuck with it since, because I really love it. I like to show my feelings through dance, and I have a real passion for it.”
McDonald had the rare opportunity to be a part of the Sweethearts’ 50th anniversary celebration before she was named captain this season.
“Last year, we had a bunch of alumni come back and we danced with them for a football game,” McDonald said. “It was cool to see the varying techniques and uniforms that have been developed over time. It was amazing to witness.
“This year, actually being the captain, it’s great to be a part of that legacy of the Sweethearts and to keep the tradition going.”
Given that she devotes so much of her time to dancing, it might come as a surprise to know that McDonald is an even more superb student. She is currently ranked in the Top 25 overall for the Class of 2024.
“Grades have always been very important to my family, they’ve always been pushing me to get all A’s,” she said.
“I personally hate when I get below a 90... it gives me so much anxiety. I like to maintain that standard because it makes me feel good about myself. I hope to be kind of an inspiration to my peers on the team that way, so they can aspire to do the same.”
McDonald has a plan as she wraps up her days at Willis.
“As of right now, I don’t intend to dance in college,” she said. “I still want to be a part of the dance program, just not on the team. Maybe I’ll teach choreography for other teams and some soloists, so I’ll still be dancing in my free time.”
Passing on her knowledge to others would fit McDonald’s personality, considering she spends time with the youth at her church. She is heavily involved in Vacation Bible School and their mission trips.
Next year, this Willis ambassador won’t have to change her school colors as she plans on majoring in math at Stephen F. Austin University.
What a Sweetheart.