Royal Palm Beach resident and Berean Christian School senior Maddison Stegall is a rare commodity in the world of high school sports. She is a multi-sport varsity athlete and has been since middle school. While many well-rounded high school athletes boast more than one sport, Stegall takes it to another level by playing four varsity sports: cross-country and swimming in the fall, soccer in the winter, and track and field in the spring — and she does them all very well.
At Berean, she has been playing varsity soccer since the seventh grade, a member of the varsity swim team since eighth grade, running varsity track since the eighth grade, and she added cross-country as a high school sophomore. Adding to her busy schedule, she is also a member of the Lake Lytal Lightning competitive swim team, which trains year-round.
In soccer, Stegall currently plays as a right midfielder for the Bulldogs. The team won its first-ever district title last year. That team then advanced to the semifinals of the Class 2A girls soccer regional playoffs. They lost 2-1 to Westminster Academy.
“One of my favorite sports memories at Berean was winning the district title last season against rival Lake Worth Christian,” Stegall said.
For Stegall, playing soccer is a nice change of pace from her other sports, because soccer is a group effort rather than an individual discipline like swimming and running. “It’s exciting to play soccer because it’s a true team sport,” she said.
Jon Iverson, head coach of Berean’s girls soccer team, expects a great season from his team this year, and he is counting on Stegall to lead by example.
“Maddison just wants to compete,” he said. “She has always been an outstanding athlete in individual events, such as swimming and running, but with soccer, she is part of a team, which has brought out her leadership potential.”
In swimming, Stegall is probably the most versatile swimmer on the squad. She can swim the shortest (50-yard freestyle) and the longest (500-yard freestyle) events. She has been one of the team’s main swimmers in the 200-yard individual medley, which requires swimmers to swim 50 yards of each stroke — butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.
“She is pretty well rounded,” said Sarah Stegall, her mother and a former swimming coach at Berean who also teaches English at the school. “This fall, she qualified for the local high school regionals in the 200-yard individual medley, and as a member of the 400-yard freestyle relay team.”
In addition to swimming in the fall, she also runs cross-country. Her best career time in the 3.1-mile (5K) race is 22:23. In her sophomore and junior years, she advanced to the Class 1A state cross-country meet.
While some might argue that playing two sports at the same time is not a good idea, Stegall disagrees. “Swimming helps me train for cross-country, and cross-country helps train me for swimming,” she explained.
Her inaugural cross-country season in her sophomore year had a memorable moment in her athletic career. She had just started running, and she concluded that season at Tallahassee’s Apalachee Regional Park, the site of the state meet, where she finished in 101st place.
“It was such a surreal experience,” recalled Stegall, as she reflected on her first state finals appearance in cross-country, while still new to the sport.
The following year, as a junior, Stegall returned to the state meet and improved to 73rd place.
In the spring, she runs both the one-mile and two-mile races for Berean’s girls track and field team. In addition to running the long-distance events, Stegall can also sprint, which is why she is a member of the 4×100-yard relay team that qualified for the regionals in 2019.
John Fix, the head coach for cross-country and track at Berean, realizes that Stegall is a rare athlete who can compete in both the sprints and long-distance events.
“It’s two different training techniques,” he said. “Yet Maddison is able to pull it off because of her focus and self-discipline. When she sets a goal, she is motivated to accomplish it.”
Going into her senior year, Stegall competed in cross-country and in swimming while still recuperating from surgery on her feet back in March.
“I was born with bunions on both feet. I had a plate and six screws inserted to fix an issue that I have had since birth,” she explained. “I had a three-month recovery from the surgery. I took a month to learn how to walk again. I started running again in July.”
That surgical procedure and the recovery negatively affected her ability this past fall to run cross-country and to push off from the wall while swimming. Unfortunately, that hampered her ability to earn a third trip to the state cross-country meet this fall. Fortunately, she is now running around the soccer field and kicking the ball with minimal pain.
Not only is Stegall an accomplished athlete, she also excels in the classroom. Her current GPA is 3.96, and she ranks 11th in her class. She is also an active member of student government. As a junior, she was the student government secretary, and now she is serving as a vice president. As a member of student government, she is on campus every day by 7 a.m., well before her classmates arrive, for student government meetings.
“Our student government plans student activities on campus every day during these meetings,” Stegall said.
And if her schedule is not already busy enough, she is also a member of the National Honor Society, where she serves as secretary.
One of the key ingredients to Stegall’s success is finding time to get daily rest.
“Sleep is very important to me because I’m a busy person,” she said. “I try to be in bed by 9 p.m. I’m just going, going, going.”
One of the keys to Stegall’s athletic success has been access to great athletic gear. In swimming, she wears a swimsuit from Jolyn. In soccer, she kicks the ball with her bright pink cleats from Adidas. For cross-country and track, she wears running shoes from Brooks. “Hands down, Brooks has the best lightweight running shoes,” she said.
While Stegall’s current life is filled with athletic activity, she realizes that her daily regimen will change when she heads to college. While she is not committed to playing a sport in college, she doesn’t rule it out.
“I’m still debating playing a sport in college,” Stegall said. “I’m praying to see what the lord has in mind for me.”
Chances are strong that Maddison Stegall will forever remain a rare athletic commodity — at any level.