Heise, McCabe, Webb selected as U.S. Army High School Top Performers

Top Performers Olathe Northwest

JANUARY 2016 – Each month Kansas City Sports & Fitness Magazine teams up with the U.S. Army to honor High School Top Performers. This month we visited Olathe Northwest, Liberty North and the Northland Recruiting Center to honor three Top Performers in the Kansas City metro.

Maddi Heise, Top Performer, Olathe Northwest, Student/Athlete

Olathe Northwest junior Maddi Heise had one of those moments you dream about on a basketball court. With Northwest tied 43-43 against Blue Springs in the waning seconds, Ravens teammate Annemaire Boeh dove for a loose ball and got it to Heise who had an open lane to the basket.

She hit the game-winning layup as time expired, getting her team a big victory and earning herself U.S. Army Top Performer honors.

“It meant a lot for sure,” Heise said.

“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. It happened so fast, I didn’t really have time to think. It was crazy. It was amazing.”

Heise, who scored a team-high 10 points in the win, prides herself more on the other end of the floor.

“I try to make my strengths on defense,” she said. “That’s the thing I can control.”

Heise is a member of the National Honor Society. “I did get all A’s this semester and that was exciting for me,” she said. “As of right now I plan to go to Arkansas and major in English and hopefully someday I’ll be an English teacher or a writer.”

Heise has plenty of time to firm up that decision and for now she and her teammates are focused on building on the momentum they built with their big rally against Blue Springs.

“We were kind of hanging our heads, didn’t really expect to win the game,” Heise said of the second half deficit. “We ended up coming back and that was great for our team and our chemistry.

“It’s definitely increased our confidence. The energy after the game was I think something none of us will forget.”

Chris McCabe, Top Performer, Liberty North, Basketball Coach

Top Performer Coach Chris McCabe wasted no time building the Liberty North Eagles into a basketball powerhouse. The second Eagles team won 24 games and reached the MSHSAA Final Four and got back to the state semifinals the next year with nine seniors. That was three years ago.

Top Performers Liberty NorthAfter a couple of 17-win, district championship teams with a young roster, McCabe’s sixth team is again loaded with eight seniors, including perhaps the best player in school history in 6-9 forward Michael Hughes.

“This group was kind of our second wave,” McCabe said. “This was the year that we thought we could maybe do something special. Just put it all together with some more experience. They’re such a mature group and a fun group to be around.”

The Eagles are off to a 7-1 start, including one of the biggest wins in program history, according to McCabe. Liberty North hosts a quality early-season tournament each year and won it for the third time in four seasons.

This year was special, though, for several reasons. They beat Park Hill South, last year’s state runner-up in Class 5 and the team that eliminated the Eagles from last year’s playoffs. Plus, the victory came in triple overtime with the Eagles overcoming a 12-point deficit to start the fourth quarter.

“We honestly had no business getting that game close, let alone tying it and sending it to overtime,” McCabe said. “Something clicked. You almost have to be perfect in a high school game without the shot clock to make up that kind of deficit in one quarter and we were. It was certainly a game that people are still talking about and will be for a long time.”

Hughes, who has signed to play for Akron next year, is among the top players in the city and state. He scored 20 points and hauled in a school-record 21 rebounds against Park Hill South.

“He’s just absolutely dominant,” McCabe said. “He makes his coach look smart.”

McCabe has won at Liberty North with whoever is on the roster. It is still early in the season, but Hughes and an experienced surrounding cast give the Eagles a chance to fill in about the only missing line on the young program’s resume: state champion.

Alex Webb, Top Performer, Future Soldier

Alex Webb is a fan of the Army’s Future Soldier program and he has excelled in it.

Webb, a senior at Grundy County High School in Galt, Missouri, northeast of Kansas City, ships out for basic training graduation in June. He feels better prepared because of the weekly training sessions that make up the Future Soldier program.

Top Performers Webb“They teach you some of the basics like your general orders and alphabet,” Webb said. “They kind of help you get ready and let you know about what boot camp is going to be like. We just get used to how our life is getting ready to change soon.”

His Future Soldier training should help ease Webb’s transition to serving, but it will also be made easier since enlisting is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

“The Army is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Webb said. “I have a lot of family and friends in the service now so it just kind of led me in that direction and path from the very beginning. Whenever I got a little bit older I brought it back up to mom and dad and that’s when I made the final decision.”

Webb is going to be a welder in the Army. He is getting a jump start on his training by taking welding classes at a technical school in Chillicothe every morning before attending regular high school classes in the afternoon.

“Welding is something that’s interested me for a long time,” Webb said. “I’ve been told the job is going to pretty much be to rebuild and restore. If it’s made out of metal, be ready to give it some life.”

As much as he enjoys welding, Webb does not see himself in that role exclusively in the Army.

“I would like to make a career out of the Army,” he said. “Eventually I’d like to achieve high rankings and have a lot of trainings underneath my belt. Whenever I retire I want to be able to say I really lived that life and had some great experiences.”

For more articles on U.S. Army athletes and Top Performers, visit: http://kcsportspaper.com/category/high-school/top-performers/

Article by Nick McCabe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *