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More than an athlete: Busy is her business

Golden Valley's Maduike balances sports and a litany of extracurricular activities

Posted: June 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Golden Valley senior Courtney Maduike is a Foothill League champion in the shot put and a member of the girls basketball team. However, there’s much more to Maduike, who keeps busy with the Associated Student Body, volunteering and other activities outside of sports.

Already in her life, Golden Valley senior Courtney Maduike has been to England, Ireland and Nigeria, where her family is originally from.

This summer, she’ll be adding France, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland to her list.

But you don’t need her itinerary to know that Courtney Maduike is going places.

She’ll be visiting Europe this summer through a student ambassador program, one of the many hats Courtney wears at Golden Valley and in the local community. Sports fans would most easily recognize her for her prowess in the throws on the track and field team.

“I get bored easily,” Courtney says. “I love having a bunch of different things to do to keep me entertained. I’m a really hyper person. Of course it gets hard sometimes, but I always find joy in what I’m doing.”

Unlike a lot of kids her age, Courtney knows what “hard” really means. Her father passed away from cancer when she was three years old, meaning that she and her two younger siblings grew up without a father.

“Seeing where they are now, looking forward, doing positive things, it makes me so proud of them,” says Courtney’s mother, Chinelo. “It’s a good way to show kids that there are still things to do, that bad things don’t have to stop you.”

They certainly haven’t stopped Courtney. Not at all.

Golden Valley Director of Student Activities Laura Beers-Dannerth put together a list of the activities in which Courtney’s involved. Or perhaps a better term would be “book.”

There’s Key Club. The National Honors Society. The California Scholarship Federation. A full load of AP classes. And that’s just at school.

Courtney has participated in Relay For Life, Make a Difference Day, the River Rally cleanup project and a fundraising dinner for the Senior Center in Newhall. She volunteers at the Santa Clarita Public Library for a couple hours a week.

Perhaps the biggest contributions Courtney makes come as a member of the Associated Student Body at Golden Valley, where she will serve as the vice president next school year.

“I’m a really loud and social and talkative person,” Courtney says. “I’m really opinionated and assertive, and I like putting my opinion out there and playing a role in the betterment of our school. I love going to different classmates and asking questions and have the authority to do things like that.”

Courtney ran for junior class president this past year but didn’t win, so she joined the rally council, which oversees dances, pep rallies, decorations, anything that promotes school spirit.

It takes a lot more work than people think.

“Oh my goodness, so much,” Courtney says. “We spend weeks and weeks and put so much time and effort into it. We’ll be working on a rally for like two months to get everything down to the perfect pitch. Sometimes things don’t go as we plan, but we always try to make it better.”

Courtney and her fellow ASB participants are fighting an even tougher battle considering Golden Valley’s athletic history, which has been filled with far more struggles than triumphs.

That could be changing, however. The boys cross country team won the first CIF-Southern Section and state titles in school history this past fall, and more and more Golden Valley athletes are continuing their careers in college.

“People don’t necessarily see the positives,” Courtney says. “They’re always like, ‘Oh, the coach is leaving, the players are leaving.’ We have to deal with the negativity not only outside, but people from our own school.

“It’s fun to be able to change people’s mentalities and being able to bring up the school spirit. A bunch of our athletic programs have accomplished a lot.”

Courtney had a front-row seat for one such instance this spring.

The girls track and field team went into the final week of the Foothill League dual meet season with a chance to clinch its first league title. The Grizzlies lost to Canyon, but the depth and prowess of the program had been further established.

Courtney won the league title in the shot put with a mark of 35 feet, 4 1/2 inches, and she was runner-up in the discus. Late last winter, she almost didn’t even come out for track.

An athlete since she was six years old, Courtney had never participated in track and field before this season, mostly focusing on basketball. She had told Golden Valley throws coach John Quam she would come out for track her senior year.
Quam was insistent that she come out this season.

With Courtney’s schedule already packed, and the basketball team making the playoffs, Chinelo initially refused. Eventually, she realized how well her daughter balances things already and relented.

“I didn’t want her to get overwhelmed,” Chinelo says. “I told her, ‘You can do it as long as your grades don’t get screwed up.’”

That didn’t end up happening, not to someone with Courtney’s work ethic. She demonstrated it while throwing all season.
“When things didn’t come easy, she would get frustrated,” Quam says, “and then it would be like, ‘OK, let’s back up two steps so we can go ahead three steps.’ She always wants to challenge herself and try to be as good as she can at it.”

As Courtney worked on her technique, she became better and better at both the shot put and the discus. Despite not winning league in the discus, her mark of 117-6 at the CIF-Southern Section Division II prelims represented the league’s top mark this season.

Next year, Quam fully expects Courtney to be a favorite not only in the Foothill League, but also to reach the Southern Section finals.

“I told her the sky’s the limit,” Quam says.

So it’s the same for Courtney in track and field as it is in everything else she does.

She carries a 4.32 cumulative GPA, including a 4.41 last semester. She wants to major in international affairs and become a diplomat one day. Her dream college is Stanford, while Harvard and Georgetown aren’t far behind.

It really doesn’t matter where she ends up. With Courtney around, the destination will be distinguished.



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