One is a speedy and strong-armed righty, while the other is a deceptively quick southpaw. One is meticulous, organized and neat, while the other is, well, not as neat. One has been known to do yoga on the Wii before big games, while the other is a closet SpongeBob SquarePants fan.
They are Skyline siblings Dylan Mountain and McKinsey Mountain.
Both Dylan and McKinsey are three-sport standouts for Skyline. Dylan, a junior, has quarterbacked the Tigers on the gridiron to a pair of state tournament berths the past two seasons, including a Class 1 state semifinals appearance last fall. Dylan also has helped lead Skyline to a pair of district championships on the hardwood, and is a key asset for the Tigers’ track and field team.
Meanwhile, McKinsey, a sophomore, has emerged as one of the top-ranked Lady Tigers’ key players on the hardwood after graduation gutted Skyline’s state-runner-up roster from a year ago. McKinsey is an outside hitter in volleyball, and a “power hitting” centerfielder and first baseman for the Lady Tiger softball team. “I actually hit a home run my freshman year of softball over the fence,” said McKinsey. “If you see me, I don’t look the strongest either. That was a highlight of my season.”
“It’s been exciting…there’s never a dull moment,” said Tamara Weidman, Dylan and McKinsey’s proud mother. “There are many great memories of close games, heartbreaking losses and exciting wins. Also, home time is very limited, so making sure the laundry is done, they eat good quality food and their homework is caught up is challenging to say the least.”
Raising a couple of busy athletes who are just a year apart is certainly time-consuming, but the rewards far outweigh any issues that come from having to be in multiple places at the same time. It is certainly made easier by the fact that both Dylan and McKinsey are far better at life than they are at sports—and they both are All-Conference-caliber athletes.
“I am so proud of the person he is,” said Weidman of her son. “He is respectful, trustworthy, and honest. He never gives me any trouble—except he’s ornery—and always offers to help around the house. He is a hard worker, not only striving to be the best athlete he can be, but also academically. He works hard for the grades he gets, but he doesn’t mind to do the work and that says a lot about self-discipline.
“She is a sweetheart,” added Weidman of McKinsey. “I’m very proud of her as well. She has a ‘head on her shoulders’ and she isn’t afraid to use it. She is quiet until you get to know her. She is very smart, and makes straight A’s with what seems to me to be very little effort. Oh she has homework, but she doesn’t complain, just gets it done. I’m so glad God blessed me with a baby girl!”
Of course, a mother is supposed to say nice things about her children, but the gushing accolades come from all directions in describing Dylan and McKinsey as people.
"In addition to being outstanding athletes, both Dylan and McKenzie are the types of kids that most parents would love their kids to grow up to become,” said Skyline Athletic Director Jim Brown, who has known the Mountain kids since they were in elementary school. “Both of them are straight-A students in the classroom, and both model the type of citizenship and behavior that we hope for out of all of our student-athletes. I’m sure that there are a lot of parents of Skyline elementary and middle school students that view both Dylan and McKinsey as great role models for their own kids.”
"Dylan is a special athlete that has a great combination of size, strength, and speed that is very rare,” said Skyline head football coach Brandon Shelby. “Oh, he also has a great arm and an uncanny ability to just make plays. He provides stability, a calm confidence, and a burning desire to be a great teammate, and he leads by example. As good of a player as Dylan is, and he's really good, he is a better person. I'm not sure you could find someone that had bad things to say about him. He's a great kid with strong morals and a great work ethic. I am looking forward to spending another year as his coach.”
He is the definition of a student-athlete,” said Skyline head basketball coach Buck Shockley. “He is a straight-A student and never gets in trouble. He is the type of kid you want to represent your school no matter what event it may be. Dylan is a team guy. Everything he has accomplished as an athlete and yet he has always given credit to his team for helping him along the way. He is very humble and continues to grow as a person and an athlete. I am proud to have been given the opportunity to coach him and be a part of his life. The only thing he cares about is his team winning games and championships.”
Dylan, who recently surpassed the 1,000-point career scoring plateau, averages about 14 points and seven boards as an undersized six-foot center for the Tigers. In the fall, Mountain accounted for almost 4,000 yards of total offense and 45 touchdowns as one of the state’s top emerging dual threat quarterbacks. He also passed for 1,600 yards and rushed for another 800 as a sophomore in his first season under center.
McKinsey’s coach also had nice things to say about her, especially regarding her leadership. “McKinsey is a quiet verbal leader,” said Kevin Cheek, who has coached the Lady Tigers to two-straight Class 2 Final Fours. “She leads more by example. She is a good positive encourager to others. She is most hard on herself. McKinsey is a caring person, a little shy. She is a lot different during the game than outside of the game. McKinsey plays well in big games, much like her brother.”
While Dylan and McKinsey are as different as night and day outside the realm of sports, they have a lot of the same traits and qualities that help them be successful when it comes to sports.
“He is extremely athletic and makes things seem easy that are very difficult for others to achieve,” said Shockley. “He makes things happen on the floor that still just amaze me, from his offensive skill set to his incredibly talented defensive game that he brings to the table for our team. He is one of the most athletic kids I have ever coached, and is one of the hardest working kids I have ever been around.”
“Dylan is a dedicated, self-disciplined, and smart athlete,” said Weidman. “When he sets his mind to something, he will work very hard to reach his goals. He has always had a lot of natural ability from a young age. He always played with older boys and handled the pressure well. He has had to step up young and be a leader, but he prepares and handles it well.
“McKinsey is a natural athlete, as well, and things just seem to come easy for her,” added Weidman. “She has a wicked left hand that is used as a weapon in every sport she plays! She is quick, and has an awesome little jump shot. She will surprise you that is for sure. She handles pressure very well. We have been in some crazy post season basketball games and, as a freshman, she pulled through making an important shot, or free throws. It’s crazy!”
McKinsey’s big-game ability was on display on Dec. 30 in the semifinals of the Pink & White Lady Classic at the O’Reilly Family Events Center. The Lady Tigers’ opponent was top-ranked and unbeaten Crane, which had ended Skyline’s season in Columbia the past two seasons. McKinsey had not played a particularly good game, especially by her own lofty standards, but after Crane erased a 12-point deficit to take a fourth quarter lead, McKinsey stepped up. Trailing 50-49 in the waning seconds, McKinsey drove into the lane and knocked down an eight-foot jumper to put Skyline ahead by one, and then dropped a pair of pressure-packed free throws to give the Lady Tigers a 53-50 win that snapped Crane’s 33-game winning streak.
I work hard, I like to win, and I take it seriously,” said McKinsey. “Sports are super important in our family. I am not the fastest runner, but I have quick reflexes which really helps me in basketball. I also deal with pressure pretty well.”
“She’s humble, athletic, and smart,” said Dylan in describing McKinsey. “She’s a good teammate. She’s left-handed, quick and smart. She needs to learn to dribble right-handed, though.”
While it is great to have your mom and your coaches say nice things about you, they are supposed to be in your corner. What is more impressive is the respect that Dylan and McKinsey both have earned from their opponents.
McKinsey Mountain is one of the top players in our conference,” said Kevin Burns, head girls basketball coach of Mid-Lakes Conference rival Stockton. “She is very hard to prepare for because of her versatility. She can dribble attack you or shoot over you. She works hard defensively and is very competitive. She is also hard to prepare for because of her ability to score. She can score while being guarded and that means you may have to provide some help. She has the ability to pass out and we all have seen how bad Skyline can hurt people with the three point basket. It takes a very athletic girl to stay with her and many teams do not have the personnel to cover her for four quarters. She is also on a strong team with many threats and seems to understand when she needs to step up. If I remember right, she had a key basket late in the Crane win on a cut across the middle. I also think she is left handed and that is an advantage, since most girls are right hand dominant.”
"Dylan Mountain has become one of the household names in the Mid-Lakes Conference,” said Fair Grove head boys basketball coach Tim Brown. “He is a multi-sport stud that competes for his school and makes them better in everything he does. He is a natural leader that has made a huge impact in the programs he has participated for and has taken ownership and led those programs. He is one of the hardest working players in Southwest Missouri and has as much skill as he does will. He is a matchup problem on the basketball court, because he plays with such a high motor, and he has a skill set that allows him to play inside and outside. Besides the fact that he is a talented player, it's obvious he is a great kid with the way he treats his teammates and the way he supports his classmates. Cheering on his sister and fellow Lady Tigers at games and in the pep club is pretty special.”
With both Dylan and McKinsey excelling in multiple sports, what is their favorite sport? Is there a favorite sport, or is it based on what sport is in season?
“Basketball is my favorite because Coach Cheek is a great coach and everyone works hard,” said McKinsey. “He always gives us a good chance at State. I love the girls on my team. We really go together like sisters.”
“Football is my favorite sport, because it takes so much work and mental preparation, but yet is so rewarding when we get a win and I get to celebrate with my teammates I call my brothers,” said Dylan. “It’s a way of living I always say, and I love the ups and downs, the grind of practice and games, and the discipline you have to have. And the physical part, the part of hitting someone as hard as you can, never gets old.”
Skyline is a Class 2 school (Class 1 in football) with an enrollment of 217 students. There was a time when the family considered transferring to a larger school for greater competition. However, there are no regrets with remaining at Skyline, especially with the close-knit Urbana community backing the Tigers and Lady Tigers.
“It has been rewarding because we know everyone, and the teachers are exceptional,” said Weidman. “They get the help they need to succeed academically and I couldn’t ask for better coaching. They have always gotten tons of playing time, always had to play up, and had plenty of direction and support from the coaches. I really thought about moving them to a larger school at one time for bigger and better opportunities, but I’m really glad we have stayed put.”
“I’ve always wanted to play at a larger school, but I love playing at Skyline because of the amazing coaches and fan support,” said Dylan. “I also love it because I know just about everyone here. I love the little community and rural area.”
Dylan and McKinsey are not the only set of siblings playing basketball at Skyline this winter either. Senior Ethan DaMitz is a starting guard for the Tigers, while sister Kaylee is a future All-State freshman for the #1-ranked Lady Tigers. In addition, Colton and Lauren Wouters are another brother-sister tandem that helps make things a family affair at Skyline.
Speaking of family, Dylan and McKinsey are not the only Mountains to come through Skyline, as older brother Cody is a former standout for the Tigers. Cody, who now works for Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, gave Dylan someone to look up to, while McKinsey has a pair of brothers to idolize.
“They are all very competitive, so when there is a battle it can get pretty crazy,” said Weidman of her children. “For the most part, though, there are no knock down drag outs! Dylan and McKinsey have gotten into a couple of basketball battles that usually end up in a wrestling match, though.”
“I used to wrestle Cody and pick on McKinsey,” said Dylan, “but as I’ve gotten older I am much bigger than Cody, so Cody doesn’t want to wrestle anymore. I still like to pick on McKinsey, though. It was comforting having Cody there, although he is four years older than me. I like having McKinsey in school with me, because it’s pretty good knowing I can keep an eye on her all the time.”
“I love having Dylan in school,” said McKinsey. “He gets to drive me every day. I also enjoy seeing him play sports. We always have a lot of fun at school, because we have the same friends and always hangout. Dylan is a great athlete, and I get a lot of what I have from watching and learning from him. I love how well-known he is. It’s cool to have him as my brother. My brother works hard every day, and he’ll never miss a chance to do anything. You will always be sure he is giving his all, but sometimes he does too much or goes too hard. Some of his football plays scare me!”
While Dylan and McKinsey are focused and determined while on the field or the court, they are not always so serious. They also couldn’t be more different away from the sporting arena.
“My brother is two different people at school and at home,” said McKinsey. “He acts like a weirdo at home. Last year before all his home basketball games, he did yoga on the Wii. It was his ritual.”
Dylan was quick to throw McKinsey under the bus, too, revealing that “she knows just about every episode of SpongeBob and still watches it.” So there’s that…
“McKinsey does not like for anyone to touch her neck!” said Weidman. “Of course, that is Dylan’s goal—to touch her neck! She goes down to the floor in complete surrender if you put your hand near her neck. I think it tickles.”
Dylan and McKinsey might be described as The Odd Couple, if that old school Oscar Madison and Felix Unger reference to a couple of roommates had any relevance in 2015. Basically, Felix was neat and tidy, while Oscar was a bit of a slob and not too concerned with the appearance of the apartment the two shared.
“Dylan is very organized, his room is neat and he knows where everything is,” said Weidman. “His shoes are arranged perfectly in rows, and his shirts are in the closet by color. McKinsey is a wreck and mostly lives out of a laundry basket and her room is a disaster. There are times that she procrastinates until the last minute to write a paper or do a project for school, which is the opposite of Dylan…he’s always prepared. Hopefully you don’t put this in the article, but she is a bit lazy when it comes to housework. I have to ask repeatedly for her to do something.”
Regardless of Dylan and McKinsey’s housecleaning or organizational skills, one thing is certain: they both have a bright future ahead of them. However, while it is never too early to start planning, there is also no need yet for any life-altering decisions.
“I think their future plans are still up in the air at this point,” said Weidman. “Dylan seems to worry about it a bit that he doesn’t really know yet what he wants to do, but Kinsey just takes it day by day. I know they both plan to go to college and Dylan currently takes dual credit classes to get some of the prerequisites out of the way. I have no doubt they will be successful with whatever they decide to do.”
“I don’t have a specific career in mind, but I would love to become a college athlete and get my education paid for,” said Dylan. As for McKinsey, she is still undecided, although she does intend to get a good academic scholarship. “As much as I enjoy sports, I haven’t decided if that’s what I’ll want to do,” she said.
As the basketball season hits the midway point, both Dylan and McKinsey are right in the middle of Mid-Lakes Conference play. The Lady Tigers just ascended to the #1 ranking in Class 2, and are a legitimate threat to win a state championship in March. The Tigers have some impressive wins on their resume, too, including an 82-54 trouncing of previously unbeaten Osceola to win the Skyline Tournament on Jan. 17. The Tigers will be in the mix for a third-straight district championship.
Soon, though, spring will arrive and with it another sports season for the Mountains. McKinsey will dust off the softball mitt, while Mountain will use his sprinter’s speed on the track for the Tigers. Between SpongeBob reruns and yoga rituals, Dylan and McKinsey will continue to be leaders on and off the Skyline fields and courts.
“Children are definitely one of God’s greatest blessings,” said Weidman. “I can’t imagine my life without them, and thank God every day for making me their mom. They make me proud every day. A lot of people tell me I have been blessed with great children, and I truly believe that. I have a shirt that says ‘Some people have to wait their entire lives to meet their favorite players. I raised mine!’”
With their humility, class and talent, it would be hard for Dylan and McKinsey Mountain not to be someone’s favorite player!