BY NOAH GRIFFITH
FOR THE OBSERVER
Lee-Scott’s athletic programs are putting the Warriors on the map this academic year, and a freshman has been at the center of it all.
The Warriors won the AISA 3A State Championship in football, surged to the Final Four in basketball after a historic season and now hope to begin a prosperous baseball season under head coach Tim Hudson. Haiden Harper has started on all three varsity teams as a freshman.
After only appearing in two varsity games with the baseball team as an eighth grader, he has made a massive leap to being Lee-Scott’s starting quarterback, point guard and now shortstop.
“He’s a three-sport athlete,” said assistant baseball coach Jacob Ozment. “Haiden’s an amazing kid. He’s shown up immediately [coming over from basketball].”
Going from one sport to another is a quick transition that often puts the player behind the rest of the team while getting into playing shape for the sport to which they’re transitioning. Harper said when he and the football team beat Glenwood to win the state championship in December, he had a basketball game the next day. From basketball to baseball, he had “three or four days.”
“Especially, [transitioning] to baseball is hard because my arm — I’m not throwing, so my arm’s not in shape as much,” Harper said. “I just love the game so much that it’s kind of hard to get burnt out.”
While he noted he loves all three sports, he pointed to basketball as his best and favorite sport, but he has played baseball and basketball for as long as he can remember. Harper picked up football in sixth grade and hasn’t stopped playing any of the three sports ever since.
“Haiden is an absolute joy to coach,” said Lee-Scott Athletic Director and boys basketball coach William Johnson. “He has an unmatched work ethic and competes at the highest level. Not only is Haiden a great athlete, but he also excels in the classroom.”
Harper is a familiar face at Lee-Scott. Not only does he star in a fall, winter and spring sport, but he has attended the school since the first grade. Warrior fans have already grown accustomed to seeing Harper do it all, but now opponents must do the same. Harper has already made two deep playoff runs and is looking for his third in the same academic year.
According to him, that playoff experience is helping him build momentum as he begins his high school career.
“Yes, [the success from each season] definitely carries into the next,” Harper said. “[The playoff runs] are teaching me how I need to play and how I need to get ready for the next year. … It’s been a great freshman year.”