It’s been a good year for local athletes, and for some the year is not over yet.
Several Over the Mountain rising seniors have been selected by the Alabama High School Athletics Association to compete in the annual All-Star games. The last time these athletes competed, some of them became state champions, some fell just short and others did not come all that close. Despite how their teams finished, all of these athletes now have opportunities to show off their talents before they begin their senior seasons.
Mountain Brook’s Jack Kline is used to playing against talented opponents after playing in three consecutive basketball state championships. Kline said he was forced to elevate his game this past season as he became the go-to guy.
“It put a little more pressure on me, but I don’t think it affected my play,” Kline said. “It just motivated me to play to the standard that I hold myself to.”
Kline’s coach, Bucky McMillan, said Kline’s drive separates him from the other players on the court. He also said he believes Kline has the versatility to do whatever the situation requires. With potential like that, rest is not easy to come by, so it’s a good thing Kline has that extra gear.
“You watch Kline play and you think it’s a man out there,” McMillan said. “He plays with such confidence and such toughness that it’s contagious to our team.”
Kline is not the only athlete looking forward to the All-Star games. Vestavia Hills High School soccer player Lindsay Copeland also was excited by her selection.
“I just love the opportunity to play another game,” Copeland said. “(In this game) you are with everyone who loves the game and that’s when you get better.”
Her coach, Brigid Littleton, said Copeland’s defensive play resembles a wall. She said Copeland’s ability to stop other teams dead in their tracks often changed the momentum of the game.
“We took more chances up at the top (with her anchoring that defense),” Littleton said.
On the field, Copeland’s competitive nature took over. She became the vocal leader for the team’s defense, and her instincts helped her create opportunities for herself and others to make plays.
Copeland said she believes she plays her best when the odds are stacked against her. She said she always plays to win no matter the score.
“I’m one of those people that, no matter how far down we get, I’m not going to give up,” Copeland said.