Trey Whitaker
3 min readNov 14, 2022


Written: 2015

Carly Spellman

Carly Spellman is a unique athlete and teammate. Based on my 25 years of coaching experience, I say this with every confidence.

This isn’t because Carly is 6’2” and genetically blessed with muscles on top of muscles. She isn’t. Carly has always been a bit smaller than her peers but she clearly has more heart and determination than most. She’s also spirited, smart, and dedicated. Let me provide a couple examples from my personal experience.

Our soccer team was scheduled to play a rematch against our arch rival. We’d lost the first game in heartbreaking fashion. The opponent had one very big and fast player that had dominated us in their comeback. At one point, this player had bumped Carly so hard that she almost landed in the gravel parking lot.

As our team gathered around before the rematch, we began to talk about how me might stop their star player. Carly jumped in and said, “Coach, I’ll take her.” Given what had happened previously and their size difference, I was a bit skeptical but the focus in Carly’s eyes was undeniable.

Over the course of the next 90 minutes, Carly stayed attached to their star player like Velcro. Late in the game, we were clutching onto a 1–0 lead and their star player was so frustrated that she sent Carly flying with a hard push. Carly landed with a thud and skidded across the grass. For a moment, I held my breath wondering whether she was okay. Slowly, Carly lifted herself from the ground. Her hair was disheveled, her uniform streaked with dirt and grass strain and her eyes welled with tears but she refused to cry. Witnessing Carly’s display of toughness, our team became reenergized. Carly hadn’t been deterred and led the team to victory.

One other example represents Carly’s team spirit. We ventured out-of-state to play in a tournament against teams a year older than ours. Against all odds, we played well enough that weekend to end up in the championship game versus a team with much bigger players. At the time, Carly was part of our reserves but she always kept the ‘benchwarmers’ spirits up for when they might be needed. During this championship game, our only chance was to wear down the older, bigger girls by using our conditioning and bench strength.

When the ‘benchwarmers’ were called into duty, this Carly-led group sprinted onto the field and zoomed tirelessly around the turf. Their spirited effort eventually tired our opponents and we scored a late goal to win the championship. It was a true team effort and Carly had shown her leadership by rallying her fellow reserves.

When Carly moved onto high school sports, I didn’t have the pleasure of coaching her any longer but I did get to see her play lacrosse, volleyball and basketball. Even though she was years older, I could always easily spot her on the field or court. Carly leads by wonderful example. She’s always leading the way, helping her teammates up and competing with a joy that must be appreciated.

I would highly recommend Carly for your scholarship. She would be a wonderful representative for you.



Trey Whitaker

Former CrossFit gym owner, corporate manager, paratrooper, youth sports coach and jujitsu black belt. Now a trail steward at Haleakala National Park on Maui.