As weekends go, Glenelg senior Alayna Markwordt had one she'll cherish forever. After helping the Gladiators capture the Class 1A state championship Saturday, scoring a late insurance goal in a 2-0 win over Sparrows Point, she celebrated her 18th birthday Sunday. Markwordt has played soccer since she was in preschool and finished the season with 16 goals and three assists as a forward. Her season highlight was a five-goal performance in the Gladiators' 6-0 win over Northern-Garrett in the state semifinals.
While she excels at soccer, lacrosse is Markwordt's top sport. Last spring, she earned first-team All-County honors as a midfielder, and she has signed to play at Ohio State next year. Transferring from St. John's-D.C. after her sophomore year, Markwordt didn't make it out for soccer tryouts last year at Glenelg, so she joined the cross country team. With a weighted 4.0 grade point average, Markwordt is a member of the National Honor Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is undecided on a college major.
After the team lost a lot of players to graduation last season, what was the key to finding the right chemistry this season?
You have to find out where everyone works well and who works well together. I know I started out on defense at the beginning and I'm not a defender at all. We definitely made some good switches when [coach Dean Sheridan] moved some players back that can help the defense and some players up to help on attack. So I guess it's just figuring out where everybody is at their best - kind of like a puzzle - and we figured it all out.
What was it like scoring five goals in the state semifinals?
I'm not usually the scorer, I usually give out assists. The first half was kind of rough. I took a lot of shots, but I missed a lot of them or the keeper stopped them. So that was kind of frustrating. And then in the second half, the first shot went in and then they all just kept going in. What kind of impact has sports made on you?
Sports has been a big part of my life. Every weekend, it's like a game, a practice, a tryout. Sometimes you can't go out the night before, which can be a little upsetting. But then it pays off because now I'm going to Ohio State to play lacrosse.
How did you decide on Ohio State?
Last year around this time, I visited a bunch of schools every weekend through winter. Over the summer, I narrowed it down to a few schools, and by early July I knew I wanted to go to Ohio State. I just loved everything about Ohio State. I liked the atmosphere, the sports, the academics, the community. I liked where it was and the size of the school. After I visited all the different schools over the winter, Ohio State was on the top of the list. My problem was I liked every school I went to, but Ohio State stood out.
What did you learn being on the cross country team?
It was a good experience. ... But it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, by far. So it was definitely good to try something new, but I wouldn't do it again.
What was the toughest part of running cross country?
For me - my first race - I was thinking: "Three miles, that's not a big deal." I go on three-mile runs all the time. So I'd go out running fast and by a mile and a half I would be absolutely dead. I just learned to push myself and to think about the ending point and how good you're going to feel after you're finished.
What do you enjoy most about Thanksgiving?
I like being with my family. We always go to my grandmom's house, so I like going there [to] hang out with my cousins and have fun just watching football. What's the one thing at Thanksgiving dinner you always go for seconds?
Mashed potatoes. Gravy?
Oh yeah, lots of gravy. firstname.lastname@example.org