Swanton’s Peluso Overcomes Adversity to Reach the Next Level
Weighing in at not a lot of pounds on her not very tall 5’2” frame, Madalynn Peluso was told she would never have the ability to play her favorite sport, basketball, at the next level. Well, she may not be starting at the center position, but Madalynn proved all her naysayers wrong when she recently signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her basketball career and her education at Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) in Delaware, Ohio. Her strong will and dedication overcame her less than towering stature as well as her detractors and she will soon be competing at the next level.
However, for Madalynn, it was a tough road to get to where she is today and it had nothing to do with her size. Early in her junior year, Madalynn suffered a fractured elbow during basketball practice which sidelined her for the remainder of the season. That following summer, she sustained a serious knee injury, requiring major surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation and recovery process which threatened not only her senior basketball season but also a chance at proving she was worthy of playing the sport in college. To complicate matters, Madalynn’s family relocated from the Evergreen School District to the Swanton Local School District where she also had to prove herself to a new coaching staff and try to fit in with a whole new set of teammates and classmates.
“When we heard she was coming we were excited because obviously we had seen her play the three previous seasons at Evergreen and we knew she would fit in really well with us,” said Swanton Head Coach Eric Oakes. “Then she went down with the leg injury during the summer and we wanted to make sure we got her healthy because we knew she could play at the next level somewhere so that was our whole goal coming in. We didn’t know if we were going to have her back for any part of the season. If we were able to, it was obviously going to help us but our main goal was to get her healthy and ready for next year. They’re getting a good girl, a great student, works hard. She did everything she had to do plus so much more to get ready.”
With a lot of hard work and determination Madalynn was able to return to the court in the latter part of the season. Her ball handling skills and free throw shooting helped the Lady Bulldogs finish the season with a 16-9 record including capturing a DIII Sectional Championship with double-digit wins over NWOAL rivals Liberty Center and Archbold.
With her comeback complete Madalynn is now looking forward to playing basketball in college and is very happy with her choice of Ohio Wesleyan. “I’m very excited,” she exclaimed. “I visited there and I actually just fell in love with the campus. That is kind of what sold it. I’m going to study Health and Human Kinetics. They have a very good program for it.”
Madalynn also said the coaching staff and the players were very welcoming and she knew it was the right place as soon as she was there. It will be the second consecutive year she will be moving, attending a new school and playing with all different teammates but, Madalynn said her one year at Swanton was a great experience.
“I loved it. I absolutely loved it,” she said. “It was a great move. There are great people over here, a great basketball program, great coaches, teachers, everything.”
Playing a sport in college is a major challenge and when you add a challenging major you definitely have your work cut out for you. Madelyn is also a member of the National Honor Society which means she will be just as prepared in the classroom as she will be on the court.
Pictured: Maddie about to hit a critical foul shot in Swanton’s Sectional win over the Liberty Center Lady Tigers