Whether you think cheerleading is worthy of a varsity letter or not, you have to agree that Kelsey Dropsey is one of America's busiest high school athletes.
The recent graduate from Hillsdale finished high school with so many varsity letters that they wouldn't all fit on her letterman's jacket. Between soccer, basketball, softball and cheerleading for football and basketball, Dropsey earned a jaw-dropping 18 letters in her four-year career.
That's one crowded jacket.
"The way we do it, we get one big 'H' for each sport the first year we letter. For every year after that we get a gold bar on the big letter," said Dropsey, who's headed to Division II Ashland University on a soccer scholarship. "My cheerleading one wouldn't fit on the jacket, so I have a pom pom stitched on the jacket above the pocket."
Dropsey's 18 letters are enough of an anomaly to earn recognition. Once you factor in all the other things she does so well, the question turns from how she was good enough to earn 18 letters to how she found enough hours in a week to accomplish what she did.
Aside from the varsity activities, Dropsey was the majorette for the school marching band and also racked up a 3.60 grade point average. The Mansfield News Journal named her the Female Scholar Athlete of the Year as well, just like her sister Whitney.
Soccer is where she starred, earning a first-team All-Ohio Division III team spot this season after making the second team last season, and winning the Wayne County Athletic Conference Player of the Year award three times. Dropsey scored 24 goals and added seven assists this past season.
"I loved everything I did, but when I step on the soccer field I feel at home. I don't get nervous and that really set it apart from softball and basketball," Dropsey said. "I tried really hard in soccer but I feel like I had to work extra, extra hard in basketball and softball."
In softball, she helped lead the team to a state title her junior year. In basketball, she was a first-team all-district performer.
While soccer was her favorite activity, cheerleading comes next on the list. Don't try and tell Dropsey that cheerleading isn't a sport, either. She's got plenty of reasons why cheerleaders deserve varsity recognition, and her explanation holds a little more weight because her accomplishments in other sports means she knows what it takes to be called an athlete.
"You deserve a varsity letter for cheerleading. People don't think it's that much work." she said. "But to get ready for football or basketball games it takes so much work and endurance and strength to pull those things off. I don't think that people get that who aren't around cheerleading."
Dropsey's tales of Wednesday nights during the fall provide insight into what it takes to be an all-around busy body. It took nearly all hours of the day for her to live up to the obligations she had all around school.
"Every Wednesday we would have band for an hour after school, then soccer for three hours then cheer for two hours. Those were the nights where I said 'Why am I doing this to myself?' But I wouldn't change any of it."
She's a big fan of the CSI group of television shows, and thus has decided to pursue a degree in criminal justice and psychology at Ashland. In the future, Dropsey wants to work in the FBI as an investigator.
The high school journey is over now for Dropsey, 18 letters later. She has big plans for the future, and she has advice for kids who might be debating the quantity vs. quality debate when it comes to sports and activities.
"Make the most out of your four years. You don't want to be regretting anything when you leave high school. If I would have chosen just one sport I would have regretted things."