Fairmont senior Kathryn Westbeld was recently honored as a 2014 McDonald’s All American. The senior, who has signed to play for Notre Dame next year, will join 23 other top players to compete in the Girls Game at the United Center in Chicago on April 2, 2014.
The selection process involves high school coaches, athletic directors, principals and a special committee that does the final voting. Westbeld found out she made the team on Jan. 29. It was a great birthday present for the 6’1” forward, who blew out the candles at her 18th birthday party later that night.
“I knew that it was either going to be the best or worst birthday I’ve ever had,” said Westbeld. “It was the best.”
ESPN does rankings every year on the nation’s top players. Westbeld comes in at 21st overall and 4th in her position of forward.
Joining Westbeld on the East team will be No. 1-ranked A’ja Wilson from Hopkins, S.C., and No. 3-ranked Kelsey Mitchell from Cincinnati Princeton. The East team will face some stiff competition as the West team includes No. 2-ranked Brianna Turner and Ariel Atkins (named best guard in the nation), both from Texas.
Westbeld is very excited about the competition. “It’s cool that I get to play against someone that I’m going to be on the same team with next year,” she said, referring to Turner, who also committed to Notre Dame.
Westbeld is the first player from Fairmont High School to be named a McDonald’s All-American, making her community, teammates and coaches proud.
“It’s really special. Not everybody gets named an All American,” said Head Coach Lacy Romine. “We were fortunate to have two of our players under consideration.” Senior Makayla Waterman, who has signed with Ohio State, was among those nominated as an All American.
Westbeld says she’s honored and excited about playing in the big game. “I want to have fun with it,” she said, grinning. “But I don’t want to miss a layup. That’d be embarrassing.”