Jaeger leads by example in sports, academics

Leading her teams with abundant positivity and meet-altering pep talks, senior Lily Jaeger has left a mark on everyone that she has come in contact with during her years as an athlete. Showing skill in diving, gymnastics, and track, the senior repeatedly shows team spirit through her ability to include everyone and her persistent work ethic. Outside of her confident attitude and teamwork skills, Jaeger has become a role model and leader for those who are up and coming, both in her sports and in her school work. Diving and gymnastics teammate, junior Megan Best, feels Jaeger represents the type of leader an upperclassmen should aspire to be.

“She’s a great role model; she’s hopefully going to be valedictorian,” Best said. “She has a 4.0, she makes good decisions, and has become a great role model for the underclassmen to follow.”

Best strives to be similar to Lily in her upcoming year as a senior and hopes to be the teammate motivating the team for meets and tournaments.

“She’s very positive, both in diving and gymnastics,” Best said. “She’s very encouraging. If I’m down on myself or someone else is not doing as well, she is always there to encourage you and help you do better along with teach you new skills.”

Never failing to help her teammates out, Jaeger has become one of the gymnastics team’s most valuable assets and has contributed to many of their successes. Varsity gymnastics coach Leah Levine acknowledges how much of a role model Lily has become throughout the season.

“They all look up to her, she is one of the best girls on the team, and they all try to be like Lily in every way,” she said. “She keeps improving week to week, and she keeps the girls motivated and they keep improving week to week. You can’t ask much more of her.”

As an athlete, Lily has improved tremendously throughout her seasons and has become one of West’s most valuable athletes. Former teammate, junior Jenna Nelson, can relate to having Lily as a role model through their years of dedication to gymnastics.

“Lily was a really good role model for everyone, she always tries her best and she always does the right thing in certain situations,” she said. “She is never trying to bring anyone down on the team and focuses on being a good teammate.”

Though Jaeger herself does not always see the impact that she has made on her teammates, she can relate to how important it is to have someone to look up to while playing a sport.

“I’ve only done high school gymnastics for the last two years, but last year the seniors on our gymnastics team were very fun to be around and great influences on everyone,” she said.

Best, Nelson, and Levine all can see the positive effects of having an optimistic teammate like Jaeger on the team. Nelson can relate personally to how Jaeger has made difference in her life.

“Seeing her as a role model helped me look on the positive side of things, you’re not always going to have a good day at the gym,” she said. “There are going to be good days and bad days and you have to learn how to appreciate the bad days which is something that Lily helped me with.”

Not only leading her teams in sports, Jaeger has become the mentor of many in regards to school work as well.

“She is a great influence on everyone and I know that a lot of people look up to her, myself included,” Best said. “She is able to balance everything very well and her work ethic is something that I continue to strive for.”

Jaeger continues to balance everything that comes with being a student athlete.

“Sports and practice push me to get my school work done on time, and really helps with my ability to multi task, especially during the season,” Jaeger said.

Jaeger has become a model student athlete, successfully balancing school work and athletics. This balance is what Jaeger attributes her success to.

“It helped me make new friends and has contributed to my work ethic, which has been helpful in everything that I do,” she said.

Throughout the years, seeing similar attributes within her own role models is what helped Jaeger to create them within herself.

“I think it is helpful to look up to someone that is older than you and they are able to lead you in everything that they do throughout the sport,” Jaeger said. “The coaches also were very fun and great role models for everyone on the team.”

Best looks forward to her senior year as she aspires to be the teammate Jaeger has been for her.

“I hope to be as positive as Lily is and influence others the way that she has throughout the  school year and in sports seasons,” she said.

Nelson also strives to follow in Jaeger’s footsteps going into senior year.

“She is one of those people that is trying to do the best that she can do and help others do that as well.”

Levine sees this motivation every day in the gym, and knows how hard it is to find athletes with work ethic and positivity like Jaeger’s on a team.

“Lily is always an excitement in the gym. She comes in every day working hard and has a great work ethic which at times is hard to find in people,” she said. “She is always trying to get better and do her best at meets.”

Jaeger has left a mark on everyone as a Wildcat, and her athleticism, along with her dedication to academics, will be used in years to come as an example for student athletes.  

“I was teammates with Lily for about 10 years,” Nelson said. “The thing about Lily is that she was one of my best friends in gymnastics, something you can gain from it all is a best friend and going through the journey together is something really important.”


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