SYRACUSE — Wawasee’s Shelby Adams is a lot of things. Just to name a few, she’s fun, bubbly, competitive and really good at swimming. In fact, the senior holds the school record in the 100 breast (1:10.48) and has been a state finalist in the sport. As a part of one of the more successful swim programs in the area, Adams is one of the top competitors in the pool, opponents know her name. But in the fall Adams takes a different role for a different team.
“I originally started running to stay in shape for swimming,” Adams admits. “But, now, it’s more than that.”
Adams enters her senior year as one of the lesser-known girls on a young and upcoming team.
“I love the girls on this team,” Adams continued. “I want to help them get better. My main purpose is still to get better at swimming, super better.” Super? “Yes, super.”
Don’t get her wrong, there’s no slack off when it comes to her work on the course.
“I still work really hard at this because it’s important to me and important to the team,” explained Adams. “I always do my best no matter what I’m involved in, that doesn’t change if I’m running, swimming or whatever. I always want to give my all and try to stand out.”
Adams admits that she loves to stand out, but that’s not as necessary on a team that has plenty of unique personalities.
“We’re crazy,” Adams said bluntly. “We’re such a close family and all of us are super unique. I think you can even see that in how we perform. It’s really a great team to be a part of.”
She’s used to being one of the top finishers in the pool, but that’s not her role on the course. Aubrey Kuhn, Elizabeth Zorn, McKenzie Smith and Bailey Schroeder have established themselves as the team’s top runners, but Adams still has a vital role in terms of depth.
“I try my hardest so I can be that backbone that my team needs,” says Adams. “Every point counts in cross. I know I’m not going to have the top time or whatever, but I know I have a job to do and a goal in mind of what needs to be done to help the team.”
She took that role to heart this offseason, according to her coach.
“Shelby was one girl that really had a great offseason,” stated Wawasee head coach Doug Slabaugh. “She might have had one of the best summers of anyone on the team. I’m really anxious to see her progress in races to see how far she’s really come.”
Adams didn’t hold back when asked what her motivation was for the improved offseason work ethic, “What really opened my eyes was that this is my last season. So, I just want to go out there and just crush it. I want to rock it. I look around and see all these girls with these high goals and I want to be there with them, I want to help my team. One attitude can change the whole team.”
As she stood in the brick yard giving this interview, her words were more than convincing, but her appearance was the opposite of what one might expect to see from a fierce competitor. Adams was all dolled up for school photo day, constantly laughing, waving at friends as they walked by, letting her captive personality shine through. It begged the quesiton, how does this girl flip a switch from sweet and bubbly to fierce and competitive?
“I like to encourage my teammates, but I’m super competitive when it comes to anything I do,” Adams said, quickly exchanging her smile for a serious look. “Apparently people can tell that I get serious about my sports because people say, ‘Oh my gosh, why do you look so mad?’ But really I’m just trying to do my best. That’s all it ever is for me, regardless of the sport or situation, I’m always trying to give my best.”
Adams and the Warriors start their season Tuesday night at Ox Bow Park in a meet with NorthWood, Fairfield and Bremen.