Wilcox sophomore Amanda McDowell is not your typical high school student-athlete. The triple-threat teenager takes on volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter and softball in the spring. As a freshman in 2017-18, McDowell made varsity for all three sports while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
“The sky is the limit for her,” remarked Chargers Head Basketball Coach Justin Fujihara on his sophomore center. “We support her in everything that she does and whatever makes her happy. But we’ve been trying to convince her that if she wants to play basketball, there is a future in it for her.”
McDowell wouldn’t admit to which sport she envisions herself playing in college, noting she is open to whichever is the best opportunity.
“Whatever I can get in for would be fine with me,” she said. “I enjoy playing all three and all three are going to help me in the long term as far as communication, working together and meeting new people. So either of the three would be great for me.”
The three-sport star enters basketball season on the heels of a strong finish to her volleyball season, where she shined in the season finale. However, no level of success on the gym floor nor the softball diamond seems to change her attitude toward being a good teammate and dedicated student.
“She has been well raised, she knows there are more important things. She knows how to use the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and has a real good positive attitude,” added coach Fujihara. “That speaks to her work ethic and her ability to manage all those sports in addition to being a student. And I know she also does volunteer and community-service work. It’s a rare thing to find these days — maturity beyond her years.”
That level of maturity can certainly be traced back to mom and dad. Amanda’s mother, Carolyn McDowell spoke at length about the benefits shes sees in her daughter playing multiple sports when other parents often pressure their kids into picking one.
“For her personally, she uses her body in different ways and learning different things from different coaches,” said Mrs. McDowell. “I think that has all been good for her from a health perspective, both mentally and physically.”
Perhaps not as great for her mother’s nerves was watching McDowell race cars before she even started kindergarten. Racing cars was her first competitive sport.
“I’ve grown up going to races, my parents’ first date was at the old San Jose Speedway,” acknowledged McDowell who chuckled before adding, “that said, it is a little different having your kid behind a wheel of a car that you don’t have control of, especially with dad doing his best to make it faster.”
While she no longer races cars, the younger McDowell admits that between a game-winning spike, a buzzer beater and a walk-off home run, that racing around the bases would be the biggest thrill.
“I would have to say home run,” said McDowell. “You’re the only one up at the plate — yes, you’re the only one shooting the ball, yes, you’re the only one going up for the spike — but there is so much more work going into your swing. If you can hit a home run to pull off a win for your team, that’s something to be super proud of.”