Yelm High School Sports Medicine Team Wraps Up Sixth at State


Yelm High School’s sports medicine program and team normally spends this time of year going to a big state convention where they compete with other schools to show off their knowledge and skills in the vein of, well, sports medicine.

“The sports medicine program is a combination of academics in the classroom and then application of skills after school in working with our athletic teams in what’s called a practicum,” said Gary Clinton, adviser and teacher for the program. “From there, those combinations of skills are the things that will be assessed in different ways at state through a variety of competitions.”

This year, the competition was held virtually, but Clinton wanted his students to have the state experience nonetheless. So he booked the Yelm Community Center on April 30 and May 1. The team took all the exams that were part of the competition and did whatever virtual contests they could together that weren’t based on pre-recorded video submissions.

“Our students for the first time in a year felt a sense of normality and that’s a big thing,” Clinton said. “It was emotional for me, but it was emotional for the students and the parents. … To me, irregardless of how they did, I just wanted students to feel normal and recognized.”

And the students did well for themselves. The 23-member team placed sixth in the state, with two first-place finishes, two second-place finishes and one fifth-place finish among the lot of results.

Clinton then held a recognition ceremony that families were able to attend in-person.

“Our students haven’t been recognized (in a year),” he said. “There hasn’t been any opportunity to have these sorts of experiences for kids and so it was incredible to see these students get recognized and their families being able to be there.”

Samantha Rohwedder, Azura Losa and Celtan Holmes, won first place in the student forum competition, which had them present an eight to 10-minute presentation virtually.

“What the topic was, is it was on the psychological effects of COVID on athletes, not being able to participate in sports,” Clinton said, adding the research paper was assigned in October. “This was when sports weren’t happening … and so it was interesting to see how their presentation morphed because all the sudden (sports) were going again. So it was a way to affirm what they were talking about in terms of athletes participating in athletics and how that all transpired to where we’re in a lot better of a situation mental-health wise for those athletes.”

Marissa Roberts took first place in a medical poster-making competition for a digital presentation on cystic fibrosis, and Audrey Missildine, Sarah Cayford, Scout Laughlin, Austin Dewees and Ana Nicholson took fifth place in the anatomage competition, where they worked together on a digital dissection table of sorts and identified muscles, bones and structures of the body, among other things.

Also, Morgan Schwindt received second place for being a speedy ankle-wrapper.

“The students sent in videos of themselves taping an ankle, fitting certain criteria, how fast they could do it,” Clinton said. “I think Morgan taped the ankle in about 45 seconds or so in the video that she submitted.”

Finally, Sarah Cayford won second place in the educational program admission competition (EPAC).

“For state, personally I’m very proud of myself and how I did, because I was able to come in second for my EPAC competition, which wasn’t very easy to schedule and work around, but I still pulled through,” Cayford said in an interview with the Nisqually Valley News.

The competition simulated an admissions process for an athletic training program.

“I had to submit a cover letter and a resume,” Cayford said. “It was sort of like the role of you’re applying for an educational program admissions. So I submitted my cover letter, resume and then I had to do an interview. I was at a track meet when I had my interview scheduled, so I like ran from my track event all the way to my car to get my interview done. It was kind of stressful, but I’m very satisfied with how well I did.”

Cayford also won a $500 scholarship that she is going to use to go to college in the fall.

“I’m going to go to Tacoma Community College for two years and then transfer to a four-year university and get my bachelor’s through there,” she said. “My ultimate goal is to become a physician one day. So once I get my bachelor’s in athletic training, I intend to go to medical school and pursue that long route.”

Sam Rohwedder also received a scholarship.

Cayford said the sports medicine program — a part of Yelm High School’s career and technical education offerings — focuses on training students to help with athletic injuries, while preparing them for the pursuit of a career in athletic training, among other purposes.

“We learn how to tape extremities to prevent injuries, how to deal with hands-on injuries like bloody noses during wrestling matches, how to properly dispose of bodily fluids and how to help out while being safe and protecting others,” Cayford said.

She said the kids also learn how to work as a team, and have a tent full of medical supplies at every practice and sporting event the school has to offer.

“I’ve learned how to help manage other people during high-stress situations, like how to do quality control and how to assign certain jobs to certain people when you have a lot going on,” Cayford said. “Like we’ll have other people watching wrestling matches while I’m taking care of an injury or our trainer is, and just sort of keeping our station clean.”

And Cayford gave most of the credit for her team’s performance at state and in the program in general to her adviser.

“I don’t think we would have done as well as a team if it wasn’t for our amazing instructor Mr. Clinton,” she said. “He deserves a lot of credit for how we did and how he’s prepared us throughout the program, so a big shout-out to him. He’s absolutely amazing as a teacher, as a guidance counselor — he’s just great.”


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