Listed on the white board in Canal Winchester girls basketball coach Mark Chapman's office are the names of every Indians player, paired with a word of their choosing.
Next to senior forward Shalea Byrd's name is "tenacity."
"Coach asked us all to pick a word at the start of the season that we'd try to focus on every day," Byrd said. "I chose 'tenacity' because I like to work hard and always keep pushing until I achieve what I set my mind to."
Powered by a fast start to her career, the 5-foot-11 Byrd has been a mainstay in the Indians' starting lineup since the middle of her freshman season. Her height allows her to be both a scoring and rebounding threat as a small forward, power forward or center.
Byrd, who signed Dec. 2 to play volleyball at Rio Grande, was averaging 11.9 points and 9.7 rebounds through seven games, and Canal Winchester was 5-2 overall before playing Reynoldsburg on Dec. 17 and is 1-2 in the OCC-Capital Division entering a Friday, Dec. 20, home game against Franklin Heights.
"She hates to lose. We even have gotten into discussions in practice on how things are scored in certain drills because she wants to win so bad," Chapman said. "She is very tenacious when it comes to her level of play and even bringing her teammates along with that personality. That's what we need, especially with our younger kids. What people see in games is what we get every day in practice."
Byrd scored 18 points in her first varsity game, a 57-48 win over Watkins Memorial on Nov. 29, 2016, and followed that up with a career-high 23 points four days later in a 59-58 loss to Worthington Christian.
Byrd had 13 double-digit scoring games as a sophomore as well as an 18-rebound game at Bloom-Carroll on Dec. 29, 2017. As a junior, she had 10 games with at least 10 points.
For her career, Byrd had 840 points and 858 rebounds before Dec. 17.
"My goal freshman year was to get 1,000 points and I am right on track for that. Then coach Chapman told me I could get my 1,000th rebound this year and that is a big milestone, too," Byrd said. "I don't think it's really all that common for people to achieve that. I like to keep (my points and rebounds) even. That's important for me to contribute like that."
Byrd has played center or power forward most of the season because of the Indians' lack of height.
"But if we can get her on the perimeter where she is a threat to shoot, she also has the ability to get by that defender by pulling them away from the basket," Chapman said.
Byrd long had planned to play college basketball, but knee surgery last March derailed her recruitment. A three-year varsity player on the volleyball team who led the team in blocks each of the past two seasons, Byrd turned her attention to playing that sport in college.
Basketball and volleyball teammates Amanda and Natalie Rarick also are headed to Rio Grande, where they will play for Billina Donaldson, whose sister is Canal Winchester coach Kellina Snyder.
Byrd's father, Sidney, played football at Southern Illinois.
Her younger brother, sophomore Stephan Byrd, has rushed for 2,757 yards and 33 touchdowns on 437 carries the past two seasons for the football team and was named first-team all-state in Division II earlier this month.
Sophomore guard/forward Madelyn Frank said Shalea Byrd makes as much of an impact off the court as on.
"She brings positivity. She'll always hype everyone up and make sure our heads are in the game," Frank said. "Off the court, she talks to everyone. She is a very nice person and she has a goofy side, too."
Byrd is all business when it comes to the rest of her career, however.
"We're moving the ball quickly and we just have to work on defense a little bit more and stopping teams from driving," Byrd said. "Overall, it's going pretty well."
Swimmers excited for meet with Cruisers
Given their club status, the boys and girls swimming teams cannot officially hold practices.
They haven't had many home meets over the years, either, but will on Jan. 5 when they take on OCC-Capital rival Groveport at Groveport Recreation Center.
That is the Cruisers' home facility, but many Indians swim there and, because of the proximity to both communities, both teams consider it their home pool. Canal Winchester and Groveport also had a dual against each other last January in the same pool.
"(Groveport coach) Ilana (Webber) and I have worked together so I bring equipment in from my summer team and we combine things for a dual meet. It's a home meet for both of us because we're both going to do our senior nights there," coach Shawn Elizondo said. "Groveport has been so gracious to us. It's close to home and a lot of our kids swim in the summer with Groveport kids and they swim with me, so everybody knows each other. It's a big, huge home meet, especially with how we're trying to continue building the program. It's exciting."
The dual will be the first of two meets in a three-day stretch for the Indians, who also will visit perennial OCC-Capital power New Albany on Jan. 7.
Wrestlers facing 'beefed up' schedule
The wrestling team's schedule has a different look this season, starting with the first event of the season, the Lee Spitzer Golden Bear Invitational at Upper Arlington on Dec. 7.
Canal Winchester also competed in the Liberty Classic on Dec. 13 and 14 at Olentangy Liberty, the first of three two-day tournaments in which the Indians will participate this season to get more looks at Division I teams, face tougher competition and experience the grind of a lengthy event such as the district and state tournaments.
"We've beefed up our schedule a little bit," coach Harrison Rosch said. "We're not focusing as much on our record this year, but rather preparation for February and March. Nobody cares about your record once you get (into the postseason). You see somebody who's 20-15 making a nice run, well maybe that's because they faced a tough schedule and were in a lot of challenging matches."
The Indians will compete in two more two-day tournaments, the Marion Harding Classic on Dec. 27 and 28 and the Perrysburg Invitational on Jan. 10 and 11.
Below are the coming schedules for the Canal Winchester boys basketball, girls basketball and swimming & diving teams:
*Dec. 20 -- At Franklin Heights
*Dec. 20 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 20 -- Gahanna at Gahanna YMCA
Dec. 21 -- Dresden Tri-Valley Holiday Relays at Muskingum Recreation Center