BLHS student named Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Beth Kornegay
Special to the Times
Shown is Basehor-Linwood graduate Sadie McWilliams.

As if being named the Midco Sports Network Athlete of the Month in January of this year wasn’t a big enough honor, Basehor-Linwood High School graduating senior Sadie McWilliams was recently named the 2019-2020 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The Midco viewing and broadcast area encompasses northeast and central Kansas. Athletic activities, GPA and academics were all taken into account to name the overall yearly winner.

McWilliams lettered in three sports during her high school career including powerlifting, softball and volleyball. In softball, she garnered Kansas second-team All-State her junior year as well as honorable mention her sophomore year. Her senior season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  McWilliams was part of the elite Bobcat 400% Club, which consisted of athletes that did not miss any off-season conditioning workouts during their four years of high school.

“I always look like there are no limits to what I can achieve so I want to keep trying and keep pushing myself so I can be the best product of myself. I want to make sure I’m the best teammate possible, best athlete possible, and push the people around me to also seek to get better every day,” she said.

Along with her athletic ability, she earned a GPA of 3.98 and was ranked as the No. 2 student in total weighted GPA for the BLHS class of 2020. She was also named a Kansas Governor’s Scholar which is given to the top 1% of graduating students in Kansas.

In addition to the Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, McWilliams was also given a $2,500 scholarship for her upcoming education at Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina, where she will play softball. Wingate is a private Division II school in the South Atlantic Conference. She is planning to study pre-law. This summer prior to leaving, McWilliams is part of a traveling softball team, Top Gun Academy Angels.

Sadie’s parents, Jenne and Matt McWilliams, both grew up in Lawrence and went to high school there. Matt played baseball and graduated from the University of Charlotte before being drafted and playing minor league baseball for the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians organizations.

“Sadie has always been driven in the things she has pursued. She’s not afraid of the daily grind in trying to get better at what she is doing or trying to accomplish. She sets goals and then listens to coaching, mentoring and educators to help her hopefully reach those and get better. We are most proud of her passion and love for her teammates and their success, as well as balancing academics with all the commitment and time requirements to her various sports. It’s been really fun to watch her and her teammates the last four years at Basehor-Linwood,” said Matt.

When it came to powerlifting, Sadie was a key to BLHS winning the school’s first 5A championship in any sport when the women’s powerlifting team took home top honors. She won the 2020 Kansas 5A state championship for the 140-pound women’s division. While this was her third state championship, the previous two were when BLHS was ranked as a 4A school. She also set a personal record of 200 pounds which was also a Kansas 5A state record. She began powerlifting to help her become a better athlete in softball and volleyball, but it also helped her stay healthy and lead by example for her teammates in the other sports.