From a very young age, Katie Schiefer looked up to the athletes at Blessed Sacrament Huguenot. She could not wait for the day that she would be the athlete representing BSH on the field.
Growing up, she watched her brother play football, basketball and soccer, which excited her even more for the day that she would be on the field, as well as on the court.
Fast-forward to this June.
Schiefer, a three-sport standout, graduated from Blessed Sacrament Huguenot as the school’s 2019-20 Female Athlete of the Year.
“Being named the BSH Female Athlete of the Year is such an honor. I am very humble to be receiving this award after someone who I have admired and looked up to most of my life,” Schiefer said. “Coach Jeff Zimmerman has truly been an inspiration to me on and off the court and will be in my heart forever.”
Her athletic journey at BSH began with both cheerleading and basketball on the prep team during her fifth grade year. In seventh grade, she helped to create the first prep soccer team in school history. She stuck with all three sports throughout middle school and high school, becoming a captain on all three teams during her junior and senior years.
With cheerleading, Schiefer has always had a love for football, and she grew up going to football games at both BSH under the Friday night lights and at Virginia Tech. That love for football grew into a love for cheerleading. Watching the girls at pep rallies since she was little also played a big part in her wanting to be a cheerleader since a very young age.
“Cheerleading gave me an opportunity to be at every football game whether home or away, especially once my brother graduated,” Schiefer said. “Cheerleading always seemed to be such a fun sport and great way to bond with many girls throughout the entire school.”
She began playing basketball for the YMCA at the age of 5, and she’s loved it ever since.
“There was never a season that went by that I did not want to play nor try another sport,” she said. “When I finally hit the fifth grade, I was so excited to be able to be a part of a team within my school and start my journey of being a BSH basketball player.”
She was 6 years old when she started playing for the Powhatan Soccer Association – and she was all in.
“I had been watching my brother play soccer for a long time,” she said, “and was very excited to finally be on the field.”
She continued her soccer career by playing travel for quite a few years, but once she started getting involved in school sports, it became too much going from a full day of school to a school sport practice and then to a travel soccer practice.
“This was a very hard decision for me to make as soccer had been ‘my sport’ for most of my life,” Schiefer said. “When I then helped to create the first prep soccer team I was still able to play soccer and enjoy all the other opportunities BSH was able to offer to me.”
While each sport is very different in the specific skills needed, Schiefer felt she was able to bring the core skills to all three: leadership, communication and the ability to have fun while still being competitive.
“Playing basketball allowed me to be much more prepared for the conditioning that comes with playing soccer. Each sport allowed me to grow in my leadership and brought different challenges to the table,” she said. “The challenges that were brought to me in basketball allowed me to take those skills used and then apply them to a similar challenge that would appear in soccer. It would always be a little transition from basketball to soccer, from using your hands to your feet, but the concepts of the game are very similar.”
In cheerleading, Schiefer said it was very nice to have a strong bond with the girls and “have so many sisters that you could talk to about anything.” One of her favorite memories was of their routine from this past Homecoming pep rally.
In basketball, she was part of a smaller group of girls, and that allowed them to become very close as the teammates spent a lot of time together practicing, traveling to games and playing together. And that close bond, she said, definitely helped them with the success they had. Along with her fellow seniors Elizabeth Carter and Sidney McMinn, as well as freshman Madelyn Mitchell and eighth grader Hailey Holcombe, Schiefer led the Knights basketball team to a 15-8 overall record, a memorable Virginia Colonial Conference (VCC) semifinal win, 40-26, over Brunswick Academy at Richard Bland College (RBC) and an appearance in this year’s state quarterfinals after Schiefer and her teammates defeated Eastern Mennonite, 34-31, in the first round of the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association state tournament in Harrisonburg.
“It was awesome! All the hard work that my teammates and I had put in since the summer had finally paid off,” Schiefer said. “We encountered many trials and tribulations during the season but we persevered and exceeded our team goal of the year.”
She and her teammates also got to play Richmond Christian in the VCC championship game at RBC. The Knights would enter the state tournament as the VCC tournament runners-up.
“Ever since I started playing basketball for BSH and went to the tournament to watch the teams play, I always dreamed of being there and playing at Richard Bland,” Schiefer said. “This year, not only did I get to play there, but I got to be a part of a team that was in the championship game. We worked very hard to get to where we were and we all deserved it.”
For Schiefer, soccer was a nice way to end each year. She and her teammates in 2018 had a season to remember when they won the VCC championship.
“This year we were going to have a few more girls which I was very excited for,” Schiefer said. “The bond that was created between the entire team and the support given from all the guys on the team is something special.”
With soccer this spring, she was looking forward to a great season, and to having the opportunity to claim the trophy one last time.
“We had a great team this year,” she said. “We were all determined to put in all the work necessary in order to be in the championship game another year.”
But before the season could get going, the COVID-19 pandemic began to worsen throughout the nation, leading to school closures in Virginia for the rest of the academic year. As a result, VISAA’s spring sports seasons, including soccer, were cancelled.
“I was very sad to not be able to get to play at least one game my senior year,” Schiefer said. “We had just finished up our core weeks on conditioning and were supposed to have our first game the following Tuesday that schools closed. Not only did I miss out on my final season of soccer but also on many memories that would have been gained throughout the season.”
The pandemic has made her realize even more “that you should live everyday like it is your last.”
“Never did I think that my senior year could be taken away from me in just a split-second,” she said. “One needs to cherish every minute on the field and the court because one never knows when it may be their last.”
Schiefer will be attending Virginia Tech in the fall. She plans to major in Human Nutrition Food and Exercise and eventually become a pediatric nurse practitioner.
“I would love to continue to play basketball and soccer at the club level,” she said, “but we will just have to wait and see what God has in store for me.”
Schiefer said that sports have provided her with many important everyday life skills.
“I have become a strong leader through sports, have learned great time management skills, problem solving skills and I have learned how to win and to lose.”
To Schiefer, there is nothing like BSH athletics.
“All students are given the opportunity to play a sport and be a part of a team. It is a great way for students to get involved and make friends with others outside of your grade that may not be made in the classroom,” Schiefer said. “Sports are a large part of BSH and truly can make a difference in the experience one has while at BSH. BSH is truly a family and there is no place like it!”
To all athletes, Schiefer offers one last piece of advice.
“Play hard, play fair and have fun!”