Katie Toney has rewritten the record books for the Warren County Lady Pioneer soccer team by scoring over 100 goals in her high school career. What you may not know about Katie Toney is she has not made anything less than an A in her high school academic career.
She has a 4.0 GPA. She is a natural athlete and excellent student who performs at a very high level, and that is an understatement.
SHE WAS BORN
When Katie says her parents have been the major influence in her life, there is a twist to the story. Her parents knew she was going to be different. Katie was her parents’ second child; her older brother Jake was the first born in the family. Her mother told her father that Katie was turning somersaults before she was born. Both of her parents were RNs at the time of Katie’s birth, and her dad delivered her in their home with the assistance of a midwife.
Excelling in athletics and academics is something Katie traces back to her parents’ influence. Katie explained, “My parents put an emphasis on how important school is. When I was younger, we had to sit down and do our homework before we could go outside and play. As I got older, I made a goal to make all A’s. My parents didn’t force me to make A’s, but they want us to do well in everything we do. Yes, they have been the major influence in my life.”
HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER AWARDS
These are a few of Katie Toney’s soccer accolades to-date while playing soccer at Warren County High School:
All-State: sophomore and junior years.
Co-MVP Region: sophomore year.
District MVP: sophomore and junior years.
District Rookie of the Year: freshman year.
These are the courses Katie is taking this semester: Dual American Literature, Dual Stats, Clinical Internship, AP US Government, Choir, AP Physics.
HOW SOCCER BECAME HER DOMINANT SPORT
Katie describes how her father helped develop her interest in soccer, “When I was younger, I would kick balls in the backyard if I did not have practice. My dad put two goals in the backyard. He purchased one on craigslist, and he built the other one by welding pipes together. Now that I have a car, I would rather go to the high school and practice. In the backyard, if I missed the goal, I would have to go into the woods to get the ball. If I have practice now, I will not do anything extra because I have to study for school, but if we do not have practice or a match, I will go get some touches at the high school. Getting more touches obviously makes you better.”
An accomplished college soccer player and parent started and coached a travel team that Katie joined when she was in third grade, which was around the time her dad put those soccer goals in their backyard. Katie describes the benefit of being on that travel team, “Myra Jackson coached the travel team. I had some natural talent and playing travel ball at a young age really helped. She taught us basis skills … how to pass, how to dribble, how to shoot. Now I have chemistry with these girls because we have played together for so long.”
The revelation that soccer was her favorite sport evolved for Katie when she was playing basketball, soccer and track in middle school. Katie said, “I liked track, but I knew that I did not enjoy it as much as I enjoyed soccer and basketball. I enjoyed basketball games, but I did not enjoy basketball practice as much as I enjoyed soccer practice. So, I thought, I think I like soccer better.”
STUDENT-ATHLETE’S HEART AND MIND
Why Katie likes soccer so much is interesting. Hearing her describe her love for soccer is a good look inside a very competitive athlete’s mind. Katie said, “I like the many different aspects of soccer. You can practice so many different things. It doesn’t get boring at all. You can practice shooting, dribbling, passing, possession, movement on and off the ball … there is so much that goes into the sport I think it is fun. It is always interesting.”
She continued, “I like academics, and I want to do my absolute best in them. But if I am looking for something that I enjoy, it is going to be soccer. I enjoy soccer. I don’t love math class, but I want to do my best in it.”
HER SOCCER FUTURE
Katie Toney’s love of soccer will take her to Tennessee Tech where the head girls’ soccer coach, Steve Springthorpe, offered her a scholarship this summer. Springthrope heard about Katie through the Cookeville High School soccer coach. When Katie learned about Tech’s interest, she invited him to come to one of the Lady Pioneers’ conditioning practices this past summer. After his visit to McMinnville, Springthrope invited Katie to Tech for an unofficial visit. He offered her a scholarship on that visit, and Katie accepted.
Delta State in Mississippi had also offered Katie a scholarship to be on its soccer team. Her ambition is to go into the healthcare field, and she plans on declaring her college major before her second semester at Tech.
One of her favorite high school teachers describes Katie Toney in glowing terms. Erin Blalock, who is also the high school volleyball coach, has had Katie in two classes and said, “If I could clone Katie Toney, I would … over and over! She is an amazing young lady who gives 100% in everything she does. That’s evident in the classroom and on the field. She told me one time she was going to try out for volleyball. I would take her, of course, but I told her I didn’t think her soccer coach would be happy about it! Ha! I am excited to see her succeed in everything she does, because I have absolutely no doubt she will!”
Her high school soccer coach Todd Willmore said, “Katie is the epitome of a true student-athlete. She is an outstanding soccer player who is very conscientious about her academics. Katie is as impressive in the classroom as she is on the soccer field. She routinely excels in honors classes, AP classes and dual enrollment classes. Katie is able to perform at an extremely high level on the athletic field and classroom, all while being a great teammate to her peers. I am honored to have had the opportunity to be her coach the last four years!”
Any old-timer in McMinnville will be hard-pressed to find a more ambitious, accomplished, and humble student-athlete in McMinnville, now or in the past. Katie Toney lives in rare air, and she has earned her place in the record books of Warren County High School.