This week’s guest is currently having a magical senior season on the softball diamond and has been on eight McKinney North playoff teams while competing on the Lady Bulldogs’ varsity volleyball, basketball and softball teams over the last four seasons.
Please kick back and enjoy the McKinney Courier-Gazette’s Sunday Spotlight Conversation with North all-around senior Kaitlyn Derheim.
What went into your decision to play volleyball, basketball and softball throughout your high school career?
Derheim: In middle school, I started playing volleyball, basketball, track and tennis. I fell in love with sports I never saw myself playing.
I loved how different every sport was and being able to play with different teammates. Being in season all year round helped me stay in shape for my select softball team.
When I transitioned into high school, I knew I wanted to continue playing multiple sports. With the help of my coaches, I was able to play volleyball, basketball and softball. During my freshman year, I told myself I was finishing what I had started.
Which sport do you feel is your best and what are you going to miss about playing three sports next season?
Derheim: I feel that softball is my best sport because I have been playing for 13 years. I have put more time into softball than the others.
Next year, I will miss playing sports, but not just for the sport itself. I will miss being on the field and court because I think of them as my home away from home.
I cannot count how many hours I have spent at the court or field over the past four years. I will miss being with my amazing coaches, which I have been able to build such strong bonds with over the past years.
Most of all, I will miss being with my best friends every day and having people always by my side. I have met some amazing people that I know will be with me for a long time.
How much does it mean to you to have been a part of eight Lady Bulldogs teams that made the playoffs during your career at North?
Derheim: It means so much to have been a part of so many playoff teams. From basketball to volleyball to softball, I cannot believe I have been given such a fantastic opportunity.
Playoffs are such a big deal and being able to go eight times is such an amazing memory. I have experienced so many ups and downs and it is crazy to believe it is almost over. I do not plan on being done for a while, but it is crazy to think my last softball game is coming up so soon.
What game or moment will you remember most from all the big games you have been a part of over the last four years?
Derheim: My favorite moment from volleyball is making playoffs at Princeton High School. It was so amazing to be able to be the first team since 2013 to make playoffs. My favorite memory from basketball is last year when we tackled Amaria Fields when she made the game-winning 3-pointer on our home court.
My favorite moment from softball is the Wylie district championship game during my freshman season. Being on so many compilations on YouTube and being featured on ESPN is crazy to even believe.
I will never forget my first home run over our big, green monster field that is 230 feet last year during the RL Turner game. I saw that ball go over and I was so happy.
How big of a deal was it to end your volleyball career being a member of the first team to go to the playoffs since 2013?
Derheim: After last year’s devastation of being one game away from playoffs, I knew that I was going to work towards one goal, playoffs. I did not care about kills, blocks, or errors.
The only thing I cared about was helping my team get to playoffs. I did whatever I needed to do to help my team win. I remember when I saw the referee point toward our side, I was so excited. I can gladly say that I finished my career with the best memory of them all.
How does it feel to be having a dream season individually in softball and to be a part of a program that has never missed the playoffs?
Derheim: It feels amazing to have been able to have had such an amazing softball season. I started this season with my goal to have fun.
So I started playing softball to have fun and I am going to finish by having fun. It is crazy to think McKinney North has never missed the softball playoffs and I am happy to have been a part of this amazing program. I have been so amazed with how the team has bonded over the past years.
Which coach or coaches most impacted you on and off the field during your career?
Derheim: All of my coaches have impacted me in so many different ways. Coach (Olivia) Guin has taught me how to be confident in myself and how to play to my best ability. Coach (Veronica) Hamilton has taught me about accountability and how to succeed even when times are tough and not in your favor.
Coach (Holly) Mulligan has impacted my life by teaching me about leadership that will help me in my future career of owning a business.
What will the emotions be like when you look back at your solid, all-around sports career at North?
Derheim: When I look back at my high school sports career, I will always smile and think about all of the crazy memories. I am so happy I decided on continuing my career of multiple sports because it has taught me so many lessons and has allowed me to participate in so many different activities.
I am so grateful to be able to say I was a multiple-sport athlete. I will be upset that it is over, but I will never regret my decision to play.