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9 Qs with McAlester basketball player, runner Jalen Spears – Presented by Kennedy Eyecare

VYPE: Which professional athlete do you look up to and why?

Jalen: I look up to Sydney McLaughlin. She competed at Rio in 2016 when she was only 16 years old. She qualified third in the US national trials and, now 23 years old, she is an Olympic gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles. I look up to her because of her dedication and drive to go after what she loves. 

VYPE: Why are you passionate about your sport?

Jalen: Sports has been in my life for as long as I can remember, every time I am on the track or in the gym I enjoy my time and there is something about both of them that brings me the most joy since I was younger. I commit myself to what I want to do 100% and once you fully buy into which sport you love it’s worth it.

VYPE: What has been your favorite memory of playing?

Jalen: A core memory that has to be my favorite is winning state in basketball last year. It is something I will never forget the feeling of.

VYPE: Who inspires you and why?

Jalen: Who inspires you and why? My sister Shaina inspires me. She has taught me how to overcome things and has been a great example to look up to. She is the most selfless person I have met and as I get older I appreciate her and all that she’s taught me throughout these years. 

VYPE: What is your favorite part about representing your high school as an athlete?

Jalen: There are so many benefits to representing McAlester but being an athlete we have accomplished so much in the past year and a half, we have gotten state runner-up in football 2 years in a row, and we won a state championship last year in girls basketball and also made it to state in baseball last year. We still continue to grow and look forward to what’s coming next. We put in the work that is necessary as a whole at McAlester high school. 

VYPE: What teammate has left the biggest impression on you and why?

Jalen: One of the teammates that have left the biggest impact and showed me how to turn a hard time into great times is Madigan Griffith. I met her last year when I moved to McAlester. She is the type of person that can walk into a room and light it up. I went through an injury this year and no one was more comforting and uplifting than her. She reminded me every day to keep my head up and continue to know there are better things coming. She is truly one of the best people you’ll ever meet if you get that chance. 

VYPE: You can pick any place for a summer vacation, where do you go and who do you take with you?

Jalen: Greece and both my sisters.

VYPE: Who is your favorite teacher from any grade and why?

Jalen: My favorite teacher was Mrs. Tyler, my fifth-grade teacher.  She was the kindest person I’ve ever met and always made us enjoy school. 

VYPE: What is the best advice that anyone has given you?Jalen: You have to be 100% bought into whatever you are going to do or it won’t ever work.

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