McDaniel finds fit to fulfill dreams, passions

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

Wellsville High School senior Lexi McDaniel found the right situation to fulfill her passions.

McDaniel loves to play softball and wants a career in nursing. The Wellsville senior searched colleges which would allow her to pursue both passions. She found that at Hutchinson Community College.

Wellsville High School senior Lexi McDaniel, sitting between her parents, Scott and Lisa, was all smiles at her signing ceremony.

“It is really hard playing sports and be in nursing school,” McDaniel said. “The coaches were ready to work with me.”

McDaniel signed to play softball for the Blue Dragons. The Eagle said Hutchison checked a lot of the boxes she wanted in a college.

“They are definitely competitive,” McDaniel said. “They like to win. Their goal is to win conference. I have always been super competitive. I want to win. It is awesome to go into a program that is ready to win.

“My big thing was I wanted to get into a program where I liked the coaches.”

Hutchison head coach Jaime Rose is in her 17th season and has amassed more than 500 career wins.

“Coach has been there for a long time,” McDaniel said. “That is important. They care about the program.”

McDaniel will leave behind a high mark of excellence. She is a three-sport athlete and is involved in other school and civic activities.

“She is a great leader,” Wellsville Athletic/Activities Director Brad Burkdoll said. “She knowledgable about the game. Hutch is getting a great player.”

McDaniel’s love of people led her to a career in nursing. She has her CNA certification and has worked in a nursing home while in high school.

“I like being around the residents,” McDaniel said. I might want to go into geriatrics. I have been drawn to [nursing]. My mom is a nurse practitioner. I want to help people. Nursing is a good way to do that.”

Her competitive spirit gave her the drive to work year round on her softball skills. She started by hitting into a net a youngster.

“I love to play,” McDaniel said. “I would not sign for softball if I did not love it. I knew I wanted to play in college.”

She plays for the Blazers during the summer and fall seasons. The Blazer program is known for high-quality softball. McDaniel said the coaches and players are some of her best friends.

“Playing competitive made me a better teammate and athlete,” she said. “I love my competitive teammates. I love my coaches. Most of my competitive teammates want to get recruited.”

McDaniel plays mostly in the outfield, but will play whatever position to help the team.

“Center is my favorite because I like to run and dive,” she said. I like to be the leader out there. Where ever coach wants to put me is where I will play.”

McDaniel said it feels good to be playing this spring after the pandemic wiped out her junior prep season.

“It feels good to be back out on the field with my friends playing the game again,” she said. “I am a little rusty. Playing high school is different because you [play everyday]. Your skills get refined.”