Melanie Small has been playing both soccer and softball since she was in elementary school. She credits her love of sports to her three older brothers, who also played baseball: she learned how to play so she could join in on their fun.
Her senior year was a memorable one. She threw a one-hitter against Richmond Heights and headed in Lindsay Silver’s corner kick to seal a victory in the first round of the sectional tournament. It was the first time the team advanced during Small’s career at Beachwood.
Small credits most of the team’s success to their new head coach, Art Skupniewicz.
“He knew exactly how to run practice balancing drills, scrimmaging and having fun.” Small said. “He was very encouraging and treated us like we knew how to run a team.”
Being a leader is something Small is used to. She was named captain on both teams her senior year. Small also participated in Leadership Committee. One of their main events is a conference of about 100 kids and 20 people on the committee. It is designed to put kids in situations with kids they don’t normally interact with and complete teamwork tests, like a rope obstacle course.
“It’s a great way for the underclassmen to mix with the upperclassmen and get kids out of their comfort zone,” Small said.
Small is currently working as a counselor at Beber* Camp in Wisconsin, which is an eight-week camp for kids featuring a variety of activities ranging from sports to arts.
“I have a passion for working with kids,” Small said. “I hope to continue that through pediatric nursing. It also highlights the area of studies I do well in, like math and science.”
She admits that her Algebra II class during freshman year was pretty intense, but she cites it as the class that set her up for future success at Beachwood.
“I was so scared. Our teacher was very straightforward,” Small said. “But I learned how to study for all my tests and that prepared me for the rest of my high school career.”
While she won’t be playing varsity athletics when she arrives at The Ohio State University this fall, she will continue her playing career in the variety of intramural leagues the school has to offer.
*Editor's Note: The original version of this article misidentified Beber Camp.