By Katharine Morgan CONTRIBUTING WRITER
---- — She doesn’t play sports for an Otsego County school, but everyone in the Tri-Valley League knows about Franklin’s Jordan Beers.
Certain talents and treasures transcend geography.
Beers, a senior at Franklin, has achieved near superstar status thanks to her tremendous success in soccer, basketball and softball.
She has been named to numerous All State and All Conference teams.
Last year, when she helped lead Franklin to Section Four titles in both soccer and basketball, she was First Team All State in basketball and she was also named Section Four Class D Player of the Year.
Her demeanor on the pitch, court or diamond, competitive, gritty and aggressive, belies her somewhat humble, reserved, self-deprecating and academic side.
Anyone who sees her play knows that she is a winner and, in turn, helps propel her team to success. She exhibits talent and hustle. She’s coordinated, skillful and quick.
She’s also on track to be her class valedictorian when she trades in her team uniform for her cap and gown in June of 2014.
She’s not only the team captain, but also the team mother. “My teammates pick on me,” Beers said. “They call me the team mother, because I am always making sure they have their things. I try to keep them well-behaved in the locker room and motivated to win.”
She’s obviously appreciated by her coaches. Purple Devil soccer coach J.J. Laing once called her the best athlete he had coached in his 30-plus-year career.
“She’s like having another coach out there playing,” said Franklin basketball coach Mike Dutcher. “She makes my job easier. No question. She’s one of those players every coach hopes for.”
Beers’ father, Darryl, is the Franklin Athletic Director and his pride in his daughter is obvious.
“I knew she was special, as a three-year old, she could dribble a ball. I started playing ball and catch with her, all the time. She had really good hand eye coordination,” he said. “I’d drag her to practice, and she would play along the sidelines. Drag is the wrong word. She wanted to come.”
Mack Culpepper, Franklin’s then varsity coach, noticed Beers when she was in the fifth grade. Immediately, he starting working with her, giving her drills to develop her talent. By the seventh grade, she was on the varsity.
“I’m so proud of her,” her mother, Terri Beers said, “particularly her ability to apply her values in her studies and athletics, both of which I think have given her a solid foundation to help her in her adult life.”
Those values included Beers staying in tiny Franklin rather than going to Oneonta or away to a private school that focused on athletics.
“A lot of people thought we should have encouraged Jordan to attend a bigger school,” Darryl said. “But, I grew up in Franklin, played for Franklin and am the Athletic Director of Franklin. We wanted her here.”
There is another Beers making a name for himself in Franklin athletics, Jordan’s brother Derick. A sophomore, he just hit 6-foot-1.
“He has his own game now,” their father adds.
But Derick said he doesn’t mind being in the shadow of his older sister.
“It’s kind of cool. people always say, ‘oh, you must be Jordan’s brother.’ I feel proud of her,” he said.
Darryl said he also wants people to know that his daughter is not, as many have mistakenly assumed, named after one of basketball’s greatests.
“Jordan is not named for Michael Jordan, contrary to popular belief. We just liked the name,” he said.
Jordan’s face lights up when talking about her friends, who are mostly her teammates too. “We usually have sleepovers, eat pizza, get outside on our fourwheelers. We like to walk in the woods, but usually end up playing sports.
“I don’t have the typical jock attitude about school. I love it, love learning,” she continued.
Beers has applied for early admission to Ithaca College, where she plans to play basketball while studying to earn a degree in Physical Therapy. “She’s a small-town girl,” said Darryl. “She wants to stay in a small-town environment.”
She also said she’s looking forward to her final high school basketball season. Franklin fell off slightly in soccer, but is still the team to beat in the Tri-Valley League on the court. If the team chemistry comes together, Franklin has a chance to win another section title. As for talk of dissension within her team this season, she takes the high road. “It’s high school drama. It will all work out,” she said.
Beers said and last year’s sectional win against Morris is on top of her list of her best games.
She acknowledges that the team’s loss to Oriskany in last season’s state quarterfinals still gnaws at her, particularly her missed shot in the waning seconds. “I still think about it, because there was time left on the clock,” she said. “I didn’t realize that, and I took a shot, but in the back of my mind, I knew I shouldn’t have.”
If she seems too good to be true, its because, by all appearances, she is too good to be true.
When asked, “How do you indulge yourself after a game? Ice cream, pizza, a shake?”
Beers replied fittingly, with a grin, “A protein shake.”
Small town pleasures for a small town treasure.