McDaniel proves to be a prophet with graduation message

Published 9:32 pm Saturday, June 8, 2024

Coal Grove Lady Hornets’ Maddie McDaniel with a special message on her graduation cap: “Despite every hurdle, I crossed the finish line.” (Photo Submitted)

By Jim Walker

DAYTON — If Maddie McDaniel ever decides to give up running track, she might think about being a sports betting handicapper.

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The Coal Grove Lady Hornets track standout is headed for Northern Kentucky to be part of their program and study to be a nurse.

But her graduation cap proved to be very prophetic. It read: “Despite every hurdle, I crossed the finish line.”

An outstanding hurdler who also ran anchor on the 4×200 meter relay team that won the Division 3 state championship last weekend in Dayton as Welcome Stadium, McDaniel wrote the message on her cap the week before at graduation ceremonies.

“As for my graduation cap, I wanted to use the message on it because I am a hurdler and it is what I will be doing at Northern Kentucky University,” said McDaniel.

“There are times where I felt like I wanted to give up on the hard days, but I would go through them.”

McDaniel ran the anchor leg on the team that included Kylie Montgomery, Olivia Kingrey and Laura Hamm. She said the win was very emotional.

“Being a state champion was an unreal feeling. I was very excited to share this accomplishment with my teammates that I have grown up with and it was a very bittersweet moment,” she said.

The race was tightly contested as expected at a state meet. Coal Grove ran a 1:42.25 while Margaretta was runner-up at 1:42.71.

“When Laura was coming down the runway and we were neck-and-neck with the people that got second, I was very anxious and a lot was going through my head,” said McDaniel.

“But I knew I had to kick it in gear to take my team to victory.”

McDaniel gave a lot of credit to girls’ head coach Aaron Hankins, assistant coach Hailey Shipley, along with coaches Scott Hamm and Rick Barrett. .

“Their determination for us to win is something a lot of high school coaches don’t have,” said McDaniel.

But it was the camaraderie that developed between the four relay members that helped cement their success.

“I was very blessed to be a part of this team and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The time that we spent in the off-season and during the season really paid off and I couldn’t even express how thankful I truly am,” said McDaniel.

Now that’s something everyone could see coming.