There are many impressive athletes at South and The Optimist would like to spotlight some of these amazing female athletes. Melea Miller, Caitlin Heim, and Maya Anderson-Corns, have excelled in athletics and academics here at South. With each of them playing various sports, we sat down with them individually, and learned about them and their sport.
Senior Melea Miller just finished her last season of soccer this past fall. She is a four-year varsity player and plays as a forward on the team. She has been playing soccer since she was four years old. “My mom put me in recreational soccer when I was little because my brothers played. Then as I kept on playing, I figured out that I loved soccer,” Miller said. She has played at a few clubs around South-Central Indiana and now plays for Alliance.
Before Miller’s senior season, the South girls soccer head coach David Prall told her that she may have a chance to break a couple of records this season. “I was really excited about possibly breaking the records and once Coach Prall said that I had a chance, I worked really hard to achieve that goal,” Miller said. With 37 goals and 11 assists this past season and 79 career goals, she now has the all-time single season goal scoring record and the all-time career goal scoring record at South.
This upcoming year, she will be attending Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois and will be playing on the soccer team there. Miller had other offers, but ultimately decided that ONU would be the best fit. “I really liked the team and the coaching staff was just amazing, so after visiting, I knew it was the college I wanted to go to,” Miller said. Miller plans on either majoring in nursing or sports management.
Miller has loved playing at South and will miss her team and the coaches very much. Miller said “Playing at South has been awesome! The team was like a family and I think that was part of the reason why we did so well this season – which was a record of 20-1-1.” She will be missed by her teammates and there will be big shoes to fill next year as Miller graduates.
Another impressive athlete is junior Caitlin Heim. She plays basketball, volleyball, and tennis at South. She began playing basketball in kindergarten, volleyball in 7th grade, and tennis one year ago. Heim always tried out new sports throughout her childhood because of encouragement from her parents and her own motivation to try something new due to her strong athleticism.
Although very gifted in volleyball and tennis, she shines on the basketball court. This past basketball season she was South’s most consistent scorer, rebounder, and free thrower. Heim was also chosen first team All-Area and first team All-Conference this year. In addition, she received the B-Man award for girls basketball this year.
Not only does Heim have four varsity letters (and more in counting), but she also excels in the classroom with a GPA of 4.4. For Heim, school comes as the priority over any of her sports. “I don’t play club sports, so I only focus on academics and whichever sport is in season at that moment.” said Heim. With this strategy of focusing on just one sport at a time, she feels like she does better academically.
This past year Heim has started the recruitment process for basketball and has been looking at some Division III colleges. “If I were to play in college, I would prefer to play at a place where I would be able to get some tuition off or to play at a college that is hard to get admitted into due to the academic level,” said Heim. Playing in college isn’t a huge priority for her, but if she was given the opportunity to play at a school she would love to. As of right now Heim plans on majoring in the biology field to later on become a dermatologist.
“I have really enjoyed playing all of these sports at South. Something great about being able to play on three different teams is that it has helped create great friendships from the various groups,” Heim said. She has enjoyed playing all of her sports and is excited to keep on playing them through her remaining years at South.
Senior Maya Anderson-Corns is consistently proving herself in shot put and discus on the track and field team. She has been throwing since her eighth grade year. While Anderson-Corns has dabbled in other sports like basketball, soccer, and competitive dance when she was younger, this is the one that stuck. “My brother and some of my friends did throwing, so I tried it out in middle school. Then I started to really like it,” said Anderson-Corns.
Not only has she been on the track and field team as a varsity member all four years, but she also has been playing on the girls golf team all four years and been on varsity for her junior and senior year. “I didn’t take golf seriously until high school, but golf is just a sport I do for fun and I’ve enjoyed playing it at South. My main sports, like the sports I take seriously, are shot put and discus,” said Anderson-Corns.
Anderson-Corns’ personal best in shot put is 38’6 feet and her discus personal best is 107 feet. Her goal this season is to pass 100 feet again in discus and reach 40 feet in shot put.
Although throwing is hard to practice in the offseason, she manages to prepare in any way she can. “I have trained at Indiana Track Club in the offseason when the pandemic hasn’t canceled it and for shot put, I’ll practice in my backyard. But, it is kind of hard to find places to practice discus due to how much distance is needed for it,” said Anderson-Corns. She also does weight lifting throughout the year to make sure she is strong and ready for the season.
In the fall Anderson-Corns will be attending University of Southern Indiana and will be on their track and field team. She received offers from many other schools, but she was really interested in going to USI. Anderson-Corns reached out to the coach at USI herself, made a couple visits to the school, and when she got an offer she knew she wanted to go to school there. Anderson-Corns said, “When I had the athletic visit, it was a really nice atmosphere and the campus was also very beautiful. It just felt like it was the place for me and I would do really well there.” Anderson-Corns is still deciding which major she will choose in the fall but she thinks she will either go into business or management.
Anderson-Corns believes that her teammates and coaches at South have helped push her to become the best she can be. She especially feels as though her throwing coach at South has been amazing to work with and has helped her improve greatly. Anderson-Corns said, “Something great about track and field is that since it is such an individual sport, there is no inter-team drama, and so you get to have a huge supportive community. That’s why it’s so great, it’s like a big family.” Although she will miss her team, she is excited for her next chapter.