Semoball

SHE GOT GAME: Kelly junior Alaney Moore excels at multiple sports even with softball being her main focus

Kelly junior Alaney Moore poses for a picture at Thomas W. Kelly High School, in Benton, Mo., on Monday, April 27, 2020.
Alex Wallner/Standard Democrat

BENTON, Mo. — Softball is Kelly junior Alaney Moore’s first love.

It’s the sport she wants to continue playing in college, and one that she has been successful at thus far in her career.

Her junior year, Moore batted .446 with 22 RBIs, 11 doubles, and 28 runs scored, earning her all-district and second-team all-state honors in the process.

However, it’s not the only sport where she excels. Moore finds success in three other activities as well.

She plays one fall sport, two winter sports, and one spring sport, and said that the busier she is, the better.

“Truthfully, the busier I am, the more focused I seem to be with everything,” Moore said. “Playing and being successful at multiple sports helps me stay in shape and be physically and mentally engaged.”

On the basketball court this past season, Moore was a force by not only scoring but rebounding as well. She finished the 2019-20 season, averaging 20.4 points and 12.9 rebounds per contest.

Her figures earned her Class 3, District 2 All-District and Scott-Mississippi County Conference All-Conference honors, while also being named co-conference Player of the Year.

In track and field, Moore was an all-stater during her sophomore year, and due to the coronavirus pandemic, couldn’t try and repeat that performance in the 2020 season.

Moore earned all-state honors in the long jump in 2019, where she placed third — the top eight participants are recognized in each event — and missed out in the triple jump by one spot, where she placed ninth.

Coming into her first go-around on the track team her freshman year, head coach Josh Freeman knew she was an athlete, but didn’t know how that would translate to the events where the team needed her.

“Her freshman year, she was still learning to control her body, so I only allowed her to do the long jump,” Freeman said. “She was always one of the hardest workers and would do what I asked of her and trusted me. In one of the meets we had, I then saw not just what type of athlete she was but who she was. She would compete. If someone jumped past her, her next jump would be better.

“The difference for me between a good and great athlete is what happens when it comes down to pressure-type situations. Will they crack? Be scared? Give up? Or will they compete? I think if you ask any coach, that is where you can answer the question of how she has improved. It’s not necessarily something that has to come up on stats or marks, even though those have all improved every year. She has something that you can’t truly coach — the great ones always do.”

Her sophomore year, Moore placed in the top five, for the long jump, in seven of her eight events. She placed in the top three six times, in the top two three times, and won at the SEMO All-Conference Invitational.

In the triple jump, she also executed.

Moore placed in the top five in six of her eight events, while also placing in the top three five times, the top two four times, and also won at the SEMO All-Conference Invitational.

Track and field was Moore’s newest challenge, and so far, the junior seemed to make the right decision for her spring activity.

Altogether, select athletes understand how to perform, and for Moore, the ingredients are there to be successful at multiple activities.

“Alaney’s just a great athlete all-around in general,” Kelly head softball coach and athletic director Melanie Heuring said. “She’s every coach's dream on a team because of her work ethic and her drive to compete and want to do well. She’s just a great asset to have on any team, no matter what sport she’s playing.”

When all of her respective sports seasons end and summertime comes around, her focus goes toward her top sport, but she always finds time to work on her other activities as well.

“Softball takes up the majority of my time, so I don’t get to work on basketball and track and field s much as I would like to, but I do find ways with my assistant coach to put work into basketball out-of-season,” Moore said. “I also work out and stay physically active for all sports year-round.”

Kelly junior Alaney Moore laughs while swinging a bat at Thomas W. Kelly High School, in Benton, Mo., on Monday, April 27, 2020.
Alex Wallner/Standard Democrat

For cheerleading, Moore said that even though it coincides with basketball season, that she is lucky to have coaches — on both sides — that work well as a team.

“It’s not that bad when it’s just sideline cheering for boys, but when you add the competitive cheer part of the season, I am school practicing more than I am at home,” Moore said. “Luckily, my coaches work with each other to make sure those who have dual sports can be successful at both.”

Kelly head cheerleading coach Billy Hoskins added that time management is a crucial piece to the puzzle.

“She is an ace at this,” said Hoskins of Moore. “Coupled with the fact that she is determined to succeed, makes this unique predicament manageable.”

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