The Ultimate athlete is a student who trains hard and is committed to excellence, on and off the field. Their work ethic, dedication, determination, and mental toughness is what makes these athletes truly exceptional. Each week the Country Herald will spotlight these incredible student-athletes in our series, The Ultimate.
This week The Ultimate is Manteno high school senior and varsity softball and volleyball player, Sierra Cureton. Described by head softball coach Josh Carlie, “Sierra is a wonderful young lady. Her work ethic is top notch, but her desire to always do the right thing is what sets her apart. Doing things the right way is her way. Her grades, her interaction with adults, her hustle and everything else is done the right way. For that I’m thankful to have had her in our program. She has made us better.”
When did you first get involved in sports?
I became involved with sports at a very young age. My whole family is very competitive so it’s only natural for me to jump right in and practice until I can win!
Who are your heroes in life?
My heroes are my parents.
What do you admire about them?
They have gone through so much to ensure that I have become a kind, intelligent and trustworthy person. They have always been by my side through thick and thin and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
What are your goals after high school, athletic or otherwise?
I’m attending Kankakee Community College to play volleyball and to continue my journey to become an elementary educator.
Is it difficult to balance sports with school?
Personally, it is not difficult for me to balance my schoolwork and my sports. As fun as it is to be involved in sports, I know that my grades are more important and should always come first.
What is a typical day like for you as a student athlete?
I wake up, go to school, head to practice or the game, get home to shower, eat dinner, and do homework, and then go to bed. My day makes me seem like an old lady.
Have you had any serious injuries?
I’ve broken my finger and sprained my ankle.
How did you deal with and over come these injuries?
I overcame those obstacles by resting, icing, and doing what the doctor recommended, such as physical therapy.
What would you say the role of a sports parent is? Also, what is the role of the athlete’s coach?
Both parents and coaches should play a supportive role. There is nothing worse than looking over to your coach and the crowd and seeing them with a face of defeat and disappointment. To be supportive and encouraging through the good and bad times are important traits for parents and coaches to have.
What are some words of encouragement you would give younger athletes?
Continue to put in the work even if you don’t see immediate results. The only way to get better is to practice the skills repeatedly and to always give practices and games your 110 percent.
Is there a local student athlete that you believe is The Ultimate? Tell us who you would like spotlighted by completing the form here, at gocorn.org/athlete.