Courts and Chords: Huron's McCormick scores on the court and in the chorale

Huron has a Division I talent on its girls basketball roster.

Caylin McCormick’s talent probably will not lead her to a Big 10 or Ivy League hardcourt, but she is definitely planning to go “next level” on the stage at a big-time program.

“I’m juggling basketball, theater and the musical for high school,” McCormick said. “I’ve been doing theater and basketball since the fourth grade, and I love them both equally.”

Caylin McCormick sings below a baby picture of her hanging in the Huron gym.The senior has been hitting all the right notes this year, earning an outstanding performer award at a national youth theater competition in January, and singing the national anthem for Huron sporting events since the start of school.

“I saw other people singing it the year before and wanted to try it because it looked like fun,” McCormick said of singing the anthem. “Coach Wood (Huron volleyball coach Don Wood), said, ‘Yeah,’ so I did it a couple of times for volleyball and then when basketball started, I did it for home games.”

Now, McCormick is taking that show on the road, singing the anthem at Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons game at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and at the boys state semifinal game at 2 p.m. March 18 in Dayton. Longtime Huron videographer Don Hardy helped get the ball rolling by sending video of McCormick singing the song to the Cleveland Cavaliers first, and then to the Ohio High School Athletic Association, which put her on the boys state championship schedule.

“I’m definitely going to be nervous, but I always say nerves are good because it means you care,” McCormick said. “With me, honestly, sometimes smaller crowds are worse because I can see individual faces. For big crowds, faces all sort of blend together. When I performed it on the football field, that was the most calm I’ve ever been, even though it was the biggest crowd.”

Caylin McCormickMcCormick got her theatrical start as a Who in a Caryl Crane Youth Theatre production of “Seussical.” In an odd twist, she will play the Cat in the Hat in the Huron High School production of “Seussical” later this spring. 

“I just love bringing joy to people,” she said. “I was Gingy in ‘Shrek.’ That was the second show I did and I had a few funny lines, and when the people started laughing, I thought, ‘This is what I want to do.’”

McCormick, the daughter of Jessica McCormick and Cornelius Ruffin, started “performing” as a youngster for her parents and grandparents.

“I was always singing and dancing,” she said. “My grandparents would put the radio on and it was just Baby Caylin dancing to the beat. I grew up on 90’s R&B and hip-hop, but I love everything.”

This winter, McCormick missed two Huron girls basketball games to travel to Atlanta to participate in the Junior Theater Festival with the Caryl Crane Youth Theater. She was honored as the outstanding performer for her portrayal of Miss Hannigan, the main antagonist of the musical “Annie,” while the performance earned the local theater troupe outstanding production honors, as well as the opportunity to perform on the competition’s main stage.

McCormick has become an expert at juggling her commitments to play basketball and perform in theater, but it's also taken the cooperation of Caryl Crane Youth Theatre Creative Director Brian Marshall and with Huron girls basketball coach Darius Schaeffer.

Caylin McCormick has been hitting all the right notes this year, earning an outstanding performer award at a national youth theater competition in January, and singing the national anthem for Huron sporting events all school year.“She does a good job of letting her theater director know our practice schedule and they work around her basketball schedule,” Schaeffer said. “She does a good job of balancing the two schedules, and her theater director has been great with practicing around our schedule.”

“Communication is important, for sure,” McCormick added. “I get a little scared when I go to D-Schaef because I don’t want to disappoint him, but I’ve been doing this all four years of high school and since he has been treating me as a two-sport player, it hasn’t been a big problem.”
It’s definitely worked well this winter for McCormick. She leads the Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division in rebounds, averaging 9.5 per game, and is 10th in scoring at 7.8 points per game.

“I’m really proud of myself because my coach and my director know I will get my work done,” she said. “I can miss some rehearsals for theater, but my director knows I will learn my songs and my lines, and in basketball, my coach knows I give 100% to everything and that I will come out and do what I’m supposed to do.”

Along with basketball, youth theater and her high school musical, McCormick is also juggling an audition schedule for college.

“For theater, you have to pre-screen, or audition to audition,” she said. “You have to send a monologue, you singing and dancing, your resume and a headshot and the school decides to call you back for an audition. I’ve been called back to Cincinnati, Michigan, Penn, Wright State and Kent State. I just auditioned for Michigan and the other ones are scheduled.

“Michigan is the hardest one to get into, but it’s my No. 1 school.”

Attending the University of Michigan isn’t the only big goal McCormick has in mind.

“Hopefully Broadway,” she said. “I think I’m interested in performing on a cruise line as well to jumpstart my career, but definitely Broadway, and maybe movies and TV.”