Inseparable even during this most socially distanced of senior seasons, Scott County High School multi-sport standouts Lydia LeDet and Micah McClave also plan to be a power couple at the next level.
LeDet, a state qualifier in track and field and decorated cheerleader, and McClave, a football wide receiver and defensive stalwart in lacrosse, each earned an athletic scholarship at University of Cumberlands.
Although many academic and athletic plans for the 2020-21 school year remain up in the air due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both athletes expect to report to campus and kick off their NAIA careers in mid-August.
McClave will focus on lacrosse. LeDet gives her full attention to track’s jumping events for the first time.
“They offered me cheer, but I didn’t want to do that,” LeDet said. “I did cheer for so long, I think I’ve just decided to be done with it. I started when I was five.”
She added track and field to her repertoire in sixth grade, and it turned out to be a perfect fit.
LeDet’s father, Shirrod, excelled at the same disciplines in high school and college, and he helped coach Lydia throughout her journey.
“I don’t like running at all. I could barely do one lap,” LeDet said with a laugh. “I was also a sprinter, and I did relays, but then I started jumping and liked it a lot more. My dad taught me everything I know, so that helped me get into it. But just realizing I was really good at it helped me out.”
Likewise, McClave is relatively new to the endeavor that will help foot the college bills.
He grew up playing football and basketball in his native Ashland before moving to Scott County in eighth grade. The next spring, he tried lacrosse for the first time, joining the club program as a freshman.
By his junior season, McClave had evolved into an all-state performer on defense.
“I started later than most other competitors. Especially people from Lexington and bigger cities, they played since they were in middle school,” McClave said. “It’s fun, just the amount of skills that needed to be obtained in that sport, because you have to keep your eye on the ball, contact, running, fast pace, things like that.”
McClave was a starting receiver for the football team as a senior. He helped Scott County to its 12th consecutive season of 10 or more wins, the longest active streak in the state. Although lacrosse has become his main sport, McClave proclaimed being an integral part of the Cardinals’ football program “the best experience of my life.”
“That was something else,” he added. “Coming from a small city like Ashland, it was very different. I’m used to having 20 guys on the team, not 70-plus.”
Both athletes excelled in the classroom while playing two or even three sports at a time.
That flies in the face of the unfortunate counsel many teenagers receive, persuading them to specialize in one sport if they aspire to continue on and play in college.
Of course, it’s not a challenge for the faint of heart.
“It’s difficult,” McClave acknowledged. “I continued football because it helped me with lacrosse, the weight lifting and the contact, it all fit into the lacrosse persona.”
McClave even briefly joined the SC boys’ basketball team as a senior. He participated in the traditional “Meet the Cards Night” before realizing that the team’s traditional trek into early March would put a damper on his lacrosse campaign.
“I wanted to see how much I could put on my plate senior year, and I think I put more than I could chew,” he said. “ I figured out it actually interfered with lacrosse, and I was like, there’s no point in me missing a sport that I’m going to college for or getting injured in a sport that I’m not going to go. I decided to cut that loose.”
Lacrosse was the only sport to get any game action in the spring before the season was called off due to coronavirus. McClave saw his initial extended time as an offensive player, scoring three goals in that game.
LeDet wasn’t as fortunate. She said her major goal for the season was to jump in the new pit at Great Crossing, but that never materialized.
“It bugs me a little bit,” she said. “He had a few games. I think I might have five practices.”
Between both competitions and cheering for football and basketball seasons, LeDet practiced at school until at 6 or 7 o’clock almost every night, even before you add track to the equation.
“Running track and doing cheer is kind of hard, especially because (seasons clash) a little bit,” LeDet said. “Grades weren’t that hard for me. As long as I could get the work done, I could do what I needed to do on the track.”
Although they’ve dated for much of high school, McClave and LeDet didn’t set out to attend the same college.
It has seemed like destiny for most of the process, however. Both enjoyed their visit to Centre College.
“I liked Centre a lot, but it was super pricey,” LeDet said. “They don’t do sports scholarships, only academic.”
McClave briefly flirted with larger lacrosse programs in northern states, where the sport is more prevalent.
The visits were an eye-opener.
“The facilities were insane,” McClave ssid. “You could tell they focused a lot on lacrosse as a good sport that would bring in a lot of fans and attention. They didn’t think of it as a club. But I tried to look for a school (closer to home) that had the same capability, and Cumberlands was there.”
They toured the Patriots’ facilities separately.
“He went there first, and he told me how much he liked it,” LeDet said. “So then I went, and I liked it.”
LeDet will study elementary education with an emphasis on special education. She’ll also pursue a minor in business.
McClave is entering a “four-two” dual degree program.
“I’ll get my bachelor’s in physics while I’m there, then go to the University of Kentucky to get my master’s in mechanical engineering,” he explained.
From there, McClave’s aspiration is to become a production engineer at Toyota. Learning a sport from scratch in high school wasn’t a bad dress rehearsal.
“As long as you have the right mindset and put in the hours, the rest will be good,” McClave said. “All you have to do is focus on the fundamentals, and the rest will take care of itself.”
Kal Oakes can be reached via email at email@example.com.