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What's Up Magazine

Athlete Worth Watching: Haley Downin

May 01, 2018 12:00AM ● By Brian Saucedo
By Nicole Gould

Meet Chesapeake High’s  Haley Downin, a great student athlete with many accolades to back up the claim, as well as a place within her school’s history books. 

The 16-year-old has made an impact in each sport for the Cougars. During her sophomore basketball season, the point guard helped Chesapeake to 19 wins, the most in the school’s 40-year history. As a result, she received Anne Arundel County public school coaches’ and Capital Gazette All-County second-team honors. “We worked really well together and had a lot of height that year, too,” says Downin, who carries a 4.24 grade point average. “It was a lot of fun to be part of that team.” 

By the end of her junior season, Downin earned Capital Gazette Player of the Week honors and ranked in the Top 10 MaxPreps Plays of the Year at No. 7 with a 60-foot shot at Arundel. 

When she’s not competing on the basketball team, Downin puts on a whistle and takes her basketball skills to the court as a referee every Saturday for Lakeshore Basketball in Pasadena. 

“Haley finds time to give back to her community by volunteering to help our local rec league with youth tryouts and evaluations,” Lakeshore head basketball coach Maria Gray says. “In the winter, she works as an intramural referee, explaining calls as she makes them. Haley has also become a camper favorite when mentoring youth at our annual Chesapeake basketball and soccer summer camps.”

In the spring, Downin hangs up her sneakers and transitions into the starting pitcher role for Chesapeake softball team. Softball is only a spring sport for some athletes, but not for Downin. 

“As soon as I was old enough for kid pitch, my dad decided to switch me from baseball to softball to see if I liked it,” Downin says. “I played one year of rec softball and I loved it. I’ve been
playing ever since.” 

As part of her travel team, Wagner’s Gold Fastpitch Softball, she practices throughout the fall and winter seasons, while juggling high school basketball practices. During the winter, she practices every Sunday for travel, but adds two additional practices during the week on top of a five-day basketball schedule.

“Softball is all year round for me,” Downin explains. “We play all fall and in the winter during basketball season, we’ll practice in the gym. My travel team picks up as soon as the high school season is over and goes through until softball season starts again in the spring.” 

In 2015, Downin made the Northeast Region USSSA All-American 13-and-under team and traveled to Florida to showcase her skills. 

During her freshman season with the Cougars, Downin was named to the Anne Arundel County public school coaches’ All-County second team.

Last year, she pitched a shutout in the Anne Arundel County championship game, a 7-0 victory over Arundel. 

At the end of her sophomore season, Downin had an Anne Arundel County-best 17-4 record with 83 strikeouts, a 2.87 ERA while leading the team in batting average (.466), runs scored (37), hits (41), and stolen bases (10) as the leadoff hitter. 

“When Haley was a freshman, I heard she had some pitching experience, but really was an infielder,” Chesapeake softball coach Don Ellenberger says. “I asked her if she was willing to pitch as it was a weak part for the upcoming season. She said she would try, worked very hard during the winter, and ultimately became the number one pitcher the last two years. As a three-sport player, it takes a special person to play year-round, keep excellent grades, and to be a leader.” 

Her success not only led her to making The Baltimore Sun All-Metro softball first-team, Capital Gazette All-County first-team, and Player of the Year for the Cougars, but also a college scholarship. 

In September, the Downin verbally committed to play softball at the Wilmington University in Delaware, where she plans to study psychology and sports management. Downin also plans to play basketball at the Division II school. 

“I really love the coaches, they’re so great,” Downin says. “I really wanted to stay close to home and also wanted to go to a small school. Even though basketball was always my second sport, I’m able to play both there, which is really nice.” 

Since she had to give up soccer for softball, Downin was finally able to join the Cougars’ soccer team this past fall after committing, earning All-County second-team honors. 

While its evident that Downin excels in athletics, she’s equally driven in the classroom, taking multiple advance placement classes. This past fall, she joined a program at school to work
with special needs students.

“Playing all of these different sports, it makes your friendships grow stronger with those people,” Downin says. “It’s not really that much work to me because I love doing it.”

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