Dedication is an imperative attribute for a tri-sport athlete like Tanner Western who also happens to be a straight A student. During the school year, she has either practice or a game every single day. Although this leaves her little free time, she doesn’t make excuses.
Going to practice and working as hard as she can are just second nature to Tanner. Fellow teammate Liz Durrant affirms, “She always makes sure to work hard and be to all the practices and extra activites.” Her diligence is described by her mother, Shannon Western. “No matter what, she is always there. She shows up when she is sick; she shows up when she is healthy. She’s never late.” Her softball coach, Dave Demas, concurs, “Tanner is an absolute great kid. She is very dedicated and extremely hard working.” This perseverance follows her through the summer months while attending both soccer and basketball camps as well as participating in softball tournaments. Tanner is one busy girl!
Gratefully, Tanner explains that she’s been very lucky to have the ability, support, and resources to play any sport. She started playing fastpitch softball in 6th or 7th grade, but her best memories come from high school. As a first baseman, a runner and a hitter, Coach Demas insists she’s “a strong, quick athlete.” In fact, she hit her first high school home run as a sophomore in a JV game against Canyon View. She remembers, “It was a lone home run, but it was a great feeling.” She hit it over the fence in right/center. In another favored memory, speed came into play. Her freshman year as a pinch runner for the pitcher, she scored in the final inning allowing for a 2 to 1 victory over Snow Canyon.
These memories, along with many others, will follow Tanner throughout her life. Although Dixie’s softball season this year was described by Tanner as “a rough one,” she definitely doesn’t regret her time spent on the field where she was able to bond with teammates and coaches. Tanner’s parents have always supported her in the hopes that she wouldn’t regret her time in high school. Her mom explains, “Ten years from now, she’s going to look back and say, ‘I had an incredible experience. High School was an incredible experience. I didn’t take the easy way out; I tried everything I wanted to do.’”
Supportive parents are very important when playing one sport, but they are a must for a triple sport athlete. Support is something that Tanner definitely feels from her parents. When asked about her mentors, she mentioned that she’s always had super good examples from the seniors on all of her teams, but “if had to pick someone, it would probably be my parents. They’ve been really supportive of everything I do. They’ve never told me not to try out for a sport or not to play.”
This support and pride is evident in the way Tanner’s mom speaks about her daughter. “She sees what she wants and goes for it. She does what she is supposed to. She is always the person who will do the right thing even when it’s not the funnest thing to do. She will always choose to do the best thing possible no matter what.”
It seems that Tanner “chooses the right” both on the field and in the classroom. In her own words, “I’m fairly motivated with schoolwork. I like having good grades… I’m kind of a nerd.” Although a self-proclaimed “overachieving procrastinator,” she insists that being an athlete has helped in this regard because time management is key to success. She’s learned that she always needs to do her homework first.
Being an athlete has taught her that communication is another key to success, which will help her in the future. As an athlete, one must foster the ability to talk and listen to teammates while giving and receiving both encouragement and criticism; however, this must be done without being offensive or taking offense. “I think that’s a really big thing to know how to talk to people and communicate without offending them.” Talking on the field, listening to coaches, encouraging teammates are all an important part of being on a team.
Tanner hopes that her teammates will remember her as a hard worker who never gives up even when it comes to becoming a better leader. She feels like sometimes she gets frustrated and allows herself to get angry, but she’d like to overcome that for her senior year because she wants to be a good example; somebody the other plays can look up to. According to Coach Demas, Tanner is already there. “She is a strong leader and sets a great example for those around her. She brings a great attitude every day, game or practice.” He’s excited to see what she can accomplish next year. Fellow teammate, Liz Durrant, describes Tanner in the same way. “She is humble and never puts the spotlight and herself. She is also a good example, and she praises her teammates’ achievements.”
Variety is the spice of life and being a tri-sport athlete certainly spices up her year. Tanner’s favorite sport is usually the one she is playing at the time. Once she begins each season, she remembers, once again, how much she loves playing soccer or basketball or softball. Her favorite thing about softball is the energy felt during hitting rallies. “When we start getting our momentum and actually hit, it’s really fun.” She also loves the amazing feeling of connecting perfectly with the ball. “The best hits are usually from ones when I’m just swinging and not trying to hit it very hard… I’m just trying to connect with it.”
“Tanner is an absolute great kid. She is very dedicated and extremely hard working.“ – Coach, Dave Demas
What does the future hold for this talented, bright athlete? After high school, she would like to play a sport in college, but if that doesn’t work out, she’ll still further her education while staying close to home attending either Dixie or Cedar. Both the medical and teaching fields hold her interest, but either way, she’d love to work with kids.
With Tanner’s fearless, determine approach to life, there is no doubt that she’ll do anything she puts her mind to. Tanner’s mom insists that “Tanner’s not going to stand back and let fear take over her. She’s learning now that life’s not easy, and she doesn’t need to take the easy way out of anything.”
Tanner’s favorite motivational quote, which comes from a senior who was on the team last year, says it all. “Figure it out.” Tanner explains, “Many times, you know what’s going on in your head better than anyone else, so you just need to figure it out for yourself.”
Although she describes herself as a “stressed out nutcase,” it appears that Tanner has it all pretty much “figured out.” • HSSI