Daniels lighting up the court

There’s been concern among coaches nationally the last few years about the supposed rarity of three-sport athletes.

But don’t tell Caitlin Daniels that.

The South Kitsap senior plays soccer, basketball and track. And, oh yeah, there’s also the FC Harbor club soccer team she competes for during the school year.

“I’m pretty much here most of my life,” she said. “When I’m not playing sports, I’m helping with athletic medicine.”

Daniels said that experience might lead her into a career in nursing, so she is looking into the nursing programs at Pacific Lutheran and Washington State.

“I haven’t made up my mind about anything,” she said. “I’m just thinking about it.”

But one subject that isn’t under consideration is giving up one of the sports. Club soccer now starts in January, which means it will overlap with the end of basketball season.

Daniels said that doesn’t concern her. “I’ve been doing it for such a long time,” she said. “I’ve been playing select since I was about in fourth grade, so I’m kind of used to it. I know I will have problems when I’m older, but I’m young now so I’m going to live it up.”

She had been a two-sport athlete until last year when she picked up track and competed in the 400-meter sprint.

“I liked it,” she said. “It was a good challenge.”

While Daniels enjoys playing different sports, there are some challenges that come with change. Soccer is a physical sport and Daniels said that carries over to basketball season for her and some teammates.

“We’ve got to remember that you can’t get as physical on the basketball court as you can on the soccer field,” she said. “It’s good because we have that energy and aggressiveness already that comes with it.”

Some might argue that the basketball team needed that injection of attitude. The Wolves had one of the worst seasons in school history with a 2-17 record in 2006-07, but are 3-3 so far this season.

“This year we know what we want and we’re going to get it,” she said. “Everybody puts forth such a good effort in practice.”

Jessica Jordan, one of three seniors along with Daniels and Kaileigh Westermann who played last season, said Daniels is a leader at point guard.

“She brings a great spark,” she said. “She has a great personality and always brings the team up. She knows what to say and how to get the girls started.”

South girls basketball coach Mike Allen agreed.

“She never has a negative attitude and doesn’t quit,” he said. “She has a real desire to win.”

Daniels said she likes to take a “glass-half-full attitude,” especially when it comes to her height. She’s listed at 5 feet.

“With shoes on, I’m 5 foot 2,” she said, laughing.

“I think I have a slight advantage. Tall people dribble high, so it’s easier to smack it away from them.”

Life isn’t always easy, though. Daniels, the third of four children, said she learned some important lessons from her older siblings that “helps me steer clear of trouble.” She declined to discuss those issues, but added that “everyone’s on track now.”

“My family’s had it pretty hard,” she said. “Having sports and something to fall back on keeps me out of trouble.”

And she also wants her family on the hardwood to do well.

But if the team’s chemistry is an indication, she thinks the Wolves will be fine.

“We’re one little family,” she said. “There’s no little sections or anything.”

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