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Feature Friday: Junior Madison Burkhalter attacks, finds success in new sport

Lauren Theisen

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As students walk past the cafeteria and board of activities everyday, they are able to spot a sign listing the All-Conference water polo girls. On that sign is junior Madison Burkhalter’s name.

As a three year water polo member, Burkhalter has learned to grow from her passion for swimming to playing a competitive game in the pool. “I started my freshman year. I had never played before, but I swam for years and wanted to be a 12 sport athlete, so I felt it would be a great fit for me,” Burkhalter said.

With no prior water polo experience before high school, most could look at Burkhalter’s accomplishments and quickly know that she is a fast learner. When she competes in the water she usually plays hole set. “I play hole set, it’s the offensive position in front of the goal, it’s a really aggressive position and not many people like playing in that spot, but I absolutely love it,” Burkhalter said.

Over the the course of three seasons, Burkhalter has realized that in order to grow in skill, a person must first grow as a teammate. As she grew she developed into a varsity starting player and one that her team is somewhat dependent on.

“I love the sport, I love my team and all the friends I have made, I love getting to go to the pool every day during the season and play the sport that helped me to find my true passion, and I also love all the girls i have met from other teams, schools and offseason clubs. I’m happy it has given me opportunities to be able to play with other girls in the area,” Burkhalter said.

Through these experiences with her her teammates in and out of the pool, Madison has grown to love and care much for the sport and sees it as something she wants to continue in the future.

“My goal is to try to play in college, I’m not sure what level yet, but wherever i end up in the college water polo world, I know I will be happy because I’ll be doing something i love so much. I want to play in college because I can’t think of my life without playing this sport, and I want to continue for as long as I can and hopefully by continuing to play i can become a coach when i’m older and teach kids this wonderful sport,” Burkhalter said.

One major part of her story is the fact that she started off high school with no experience playing water polo. Burkhalter wants her water polo experience to show others who are interested in joining a sport they have never played before that they could do what she did and still be successful.

“If anyone needs a spring sport or swims but hasn’t tried water polo I definitely would 10/10 recommend coming and joining the Hersey water polo family. We all support and love each other and the sport so much; I couldn’t even begin to imagine my life with out the team, and we always love new people who join,” Burkhalter said.

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The student news site of John Hersey High School
Feature Friday: Junior Madison Burkhalter attacks, finds success in new sport