ELKHART — Kortney Buckley's statistics may not jump off the page at you.
But her work habit – both in athletics and in the classroom – make her a standout.
Buckley earned an astounding 16 letters in her four years at Elkhart Central, doubling up in the fall with both cross country and soccer.
Perhaps even more impressive was the fact she was a captain on three of the teams during her senior year.
The Elkhart Central four-sport standout has been chosen as the Catherine Wolf Award recipient for the 2018-19 school year. She was named by the Wolf committee for the honor that is bestowed annually on Elkhart Community Schools’ top senior female student-athlete.
"I am so excited to win the Wolf award ... it's something I've been hoping for since I was in junior high,'' Buckley admitted. "I've always worked hard in everything I've done, both in sports and in school, and I have my coaches, teachers and of course my parents to thank for their support.
Buckley ranks in the top 10 percent of her class at Elkhart Central, with a grade-point average of 3.87 in unweighed classes and 4.2 in weighted classes. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the Principal's Honor Roll for four years, has served in student government for three years and was a member of the Homecoming Court for four years.
She also earned the David Robinson scholarship for Future Coaches.
Did I mention she earned 16 letters?
"In the fall, when we got out of school at 2:40, I would do my running for cross country, until soccer practice started at 4, then I'd go to soccer,'' Buckley said. "It made for some late nights with my homework, but my coaches and teachers knew what I was doing and were very understanding. Plus, my teammates were great. They knew when we had a meet or a game that I wouldn't be at practice for the other sport, but they understood.''
However, Buckley's coaches all loved having the extroverted senior at practice.
"As her cross country coach and distance coach for track, I am always glad when Kortney is at practice,'' Central coach Bekah Shenk said. "I know that she will bring a positive attitude and will help to lead the rest of the team in the right direction.
"She takes her commitments seriously and will not let distractions get in the way of working towards and achieving long-term goals. Once she commits to something, she will truly give 100 percent.''
In swimming, Buckley was a 2018-19 NISCA Scholastic All-American and won the team's Mental Attitude Award as a senior. She won five races in her career, placed second three times and third 13 other times in her career for head coach Michelle Guipe.
"Anyone who has a love and passion for athletics, the drive to learn and grow, the fierce loyalty to the teams she supports and the leadership skills that Kortney embodies will inevitably find ways to contribute,'' Guipe said. "She is the athlete who does team tasks every day, whether it is her turn or not, and never procrastinates ... even when getting in a cold pool at 5:30 in the morning. She helps make coaching a team of 36 girls feel easy.''
Crystal Davis is a former girls track coach at Central and she has a fun take on Buckley.
"I need ... Kort. Where is Buckley?''
"Right here coach.''
Kort I need you too ... ''
"Every time you need someone to count on, rely on, call on, Kort is your athlete,'' Davis said. "With grace, work ethic all the time, no fear, no complaints, all in, for the team. This is Kortney Buckley. All day, every day.
"Kortney is the reason we coach. She is every bit grit and joy. A model. A model for all of us.''
Buckley was a midfielder for coach Rick Nussbaum's Blue Blazer soccer team last fall, scoring one goal and adding three assists on a team where her scoring was often unnecessary. She was a member of the Northern Indiana Conference All-Academic team and the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association All-Academic team.
"Kortney served as a captain on a team of very strong ability and personality and did so as a calm voice of reason, which earned her the respect of her teammates,'' Nussbaum said. "She wasn't the most skilled soccer player in our starting 11 but was perhaps the most dedicated. There wasn't a practice or match where she didn't give it her all despite splitting time between two fall sports.
"There was at least one occasion where she competed in a cross country event in the morning and then started a varsity match in the afternoon after dashing to the game. Not only did she have the ability to play an entire 80 minutes in a highly competitive match, she questioned why I removed her from the game anticipating she'd need rest ... which she did not.''
Buckley is planning to attend Saint Mary of the Woods College in Terre Haute. Not surprisingly, she will play two sports, soccer and track.
Kortney is the daughter of Brian and Kelly Buckley. Brian is the athletic director at Elkhart Central.
"My family has always been there for me and supported me every step of the way,'' Kortney said. "There were a lot of five-hour trips for travel soccer in the past four years that my parents have made for me, and I'm just so grateful for everything they've done.''
So what would an athlete that has just ended her high school career with 16 letters tell a young lady interested in playing three or maybe even four sports in high school?
"I would tell them to stay on top of their homework and make sure they have good time-management skills,'' Buckley said. "You need to work with your coaches and teachers and maybe the biggest thing is, you can never procrastinate.''
CATHERINE WOLF AWARD
2018 – Sabryna Stanley (Central). 2017 – Krystal Grubb (Memorial). 2016 – Gabi Yoder (Central). 2015 – Amanda Dibley (Central). 2014 – Kate Cobb (Central). 2013 – Holly Lehman (Central) 2012 – Zoe Disori (Central). 2011– Haley King (Memorial). 2010 – Jada Buggs (Memorial). 2009 – Jen Krumwiede (Memorial). 2008 – Nicci Desimone (Memorial). 2007 – Tawny Desimone (Memorial). 2006 – Kari Bowlby (Central). 2005 – Allison Sears (Memorial). 2004 – Hayley Boling (Memorial). 2003 – Randi Osterloo (Central). 2002 – Whitney Boling (Memorial).