Dawn Moses has coached volleyball at Olmsted Falls High School for 17 years.
During her time as a teacher and coach at the school, she's never met a student quite like junior Kate Ferster, and she's never encouraged another student to tackle the challenge of playing two varsity sports simultaneously like she did Ferster in April.
"I was in Coach Moses' third period nutrition and wellness class, and we were on elliptical [bikes] and just talking," Ferster said, remembering back. "I had mentioned that sometimes I got mad looking at cross country articles because I thought I'd be good.
"I said it would be one of my regrets in high school; not trying out cross.'"
Moses, who had coached Ferster in the fall, immediately made the unlikely suggestion that she do just that.
But the recommendation was anything but a quick, emotional reaction.
"I would not have suggested this to very many student-athletes as most could never even begin to handle it," Moses said. "She has great time-management skills, is an awesome student, works extremely hard at everything she does and is committed to everything she does."
After being named the school's distance runner of the year for the second consecutive track season in the spring, Ferster began this school year having to worry more about finding the time and energy to maintain her 4.013 GPA while playing two fall sports than making the cross country squad.
Ferster said that her busy schedule sometimes requires her to choose sleep or finishing homework over attending a Friday night football game, but she hasn't been the only one affected by all of her athletic obligations.
"This hasn't been easy; missing one of your players in workouts makes it difficult for all involved, but I wouldn't trade it either, as Kate is realizing how difficult it is and that is a lesson in itself," Moses said. "Sports are all about teaching lessons."
Ferster, a three-sport athlete, recently answered questions about her high school athletic career and her plans for the future for WKYC's usatodayhss.com Web site.
WKYC's usatodayhss.com/Cleveland: What is the best part of being a high school student-athlete?
Olmsted Falls junior Kate Ferster: The relationships you build with your teammates and coaches. You're going through rough, physical times and the only thing that gets you through is your teammates. The bond you have is pretty strong and you know they have your back.
WKYC: With playing two varsity sports simultaneously while taking several Advanced Placement courses, briefly describe what a typical week has been like for you this fall.
Ferster: Run every day besides Sunday. Volleyball [activities] Monday through Thursday. Homework every night. Luckily, I have two study halls.
WKYC: With all your academic and athletic obligations, do ever feel overwhelmed? If so, what motivates you to continue to play both sports?
Ferster: Yes, I do. [What motivates me is] the fact that I've committed to this and I have something to prove. Also, a big reason I did this was to help me in track since most distance runners do cross [country].
WKYC: What is your favorite academic subject? Why?
Ferster: AP Chemistry. I'm not really sure why because it's probably the hardest class I've ever taken, but I like how Mrs. [Lisa] Whitney structures it in that we're always doing a lab or problems. I like hands-on activities and being busy.
WKYC: What is your greatest non-athletic accomplishment? Why?
Ferster: My art. I've had a sculpture entered in the governor's youth art exhibition. I've won two scholastic awards along with ribbons from the school's art show.
WKYC: What would your superhero name be? Why?
Ferster: Mighty Miss. Strength is the superpower. I can do everyday things with ease and I'll never know the feeling of fatigue, even though I play two sports.
WKYC: What are your career aspirations?
Ferster: Potentially [becoming] an engineer, but anything involving math and science.
For more Northeast Ohio high school sports news, scores, photos and videos, visit usatodyhss.com/Cleveland.