CROWN POINT | Michaela Prough came to Crown Point's track team as skinny as the piano keys she had been playing since age 4.
Long and lanky, by her sophomore year of basketball, she was getting bruised and often abused by stronger girls in the post. Therefore, she turned to the weight room.
When she started weight training as a freshman she could not press the bar, and many lifts caused her to shake and struggle.
Still, she used her time on the track to stay in shape for basketball and improve her speed and leaping ability in the offseason. The 6-foot-2 forward grew into a Division I basketball player and set multiple school records in pro agility (three-cone drill, 40-yard dash and bar jump) in personal fitness class.
Now, with a full-ride basketball scholarship to Evansville in hand, this Bulldog is refusing to bite the proverbial hand that feeds.
Rather than skip track or be a part-timer, she's eager to finish her "other" prep career with a smile.
"I could have tuned out and been laid back now that I have a scholarship," Prough said, "but now, really, I just have to give it all I've got. I'm never going to be on a track team again. Anything I can do to make myself better, I'll do."
Prough wants to study medicine of some sort in college, though she hasn't chosen a specific field.
Her muscle tone and size has continually developed, and Prough's natural affinity for healthy foods, combined with her summer sessions with a personal trainer in Winfield, put her in peak physical condition for her senior season.
"When she got here her height really showed," Crown Point coach Lindsay Hattendorf said. "Her body has transitioned, and she's an athlete now."
Prough will need to display that fitness tonight at the Duneland Athletic Conference meet in Merrillville.
She is sixth in the area in the 200-meter dash and seventh in the high jump despite limited training, with a best of 5 feet, 2 inches, in the latter.
Previous overexertion in high jump has led to back injuries, and her plant foot, her left, has an extra bone on the instep, her physician discovered toward the end of middle school. Thus, she mostly has been sprinting.
She'll run the 200, partake in the high jump, anchor the 400 relay and run second on the 1,600 relay.
"It's going to be tough, and by the end of the night I'll be tired," Prough said. "I haven't scored a ton in the field, and now is a good opportunity to prove I can do both."
Delightfully quick-witted in conversation, Twitter-crazy and a strong leader for the sprint crew, Prough becomes somewhat anti-social before big meets like this one as the Dubstep techno blares through her headphones.
"She's one of those athletes that, when she knows it's game time, she's ready for game time," Hattendorf said. "She always knows what's right for the situations she's in."