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SEDAN — While many high school athletes are looking for a college to continue their playing career, Sedan High School’s Tayte Halderman had something else in mind. In fact, he is living out a lifelong dream of serving his country.
This summer, Halderman will officially start a career in the military as he will be attending basic training for the United States Navy.
“I’ve always wanted to join the military but wasn’t sure what branch,” Halderman said. “I chose the Navy because I really like the water and the opportunities it has. Nobody in my family has joined. I have just wanted to serve my country since I was little. I decided going to the Navy when I was a sophomore. It just took a couple years to get it all set up. I’m looking forward to exploring the world.”
Halderman was a three-sport athlete at Sedan, including four years of football and basketball, as well as three years of baseball.
As a senior, he was a standout on the Blue Devil football team last fall in all three phases of the game. At the quarterback position, he accounted for nearly 1,400 yards and 28 touchdowns on offense. He averaged eight yards per carry while finishing the season with 909 rushing yards and 18 scores. Through the air, he passed for 487 yards while completing 10 touchdowns.
Defensively, he was in the secondary, where he recorded 55 tackles in only seven games of action. He also had three interceptions, which included a pair that he returned for touchdowns. On special teams, he was a return specialist and had a total of five touchdowns off kickoff and punt returns.
Halderman was named Area Most Valuable Player by the Montgomery County Chronicle and Prairie Star newspapers after leading the Blue Devils to a 5-4 campaign and a second straight appearance in the postseason. One year earlier, SHS ended a nine-year playoff drought.
In addition to being Area MVP, Halderman was named All-South Central Border League First Team on offense and defense and was also All-Eight Man Division I Honorable Mention by both The Wichita Eagle and The Topeka Capital Journal. He was later selected to participate in the 2020 Kansas Eight-Man All-Star Game. That game was scheduled for Saturday, June 13, in Beloit but has since been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Halderman was a three-time All-SCBL and All-Area Football Player. He had also been named All-Eight Man Division I Honorable Mention at defensive back as a sophomore and at running back as a junior.
“I felt like football was my best sport because I worked hard and played with my heart,” Halderman said. “I think the past season went well. I had a lot of fun with a good group of guys that liked to work hard. It was one of my best years until I fractured my ankle. But I loved football so much I decided not to go to the doctor and just kept playing.”
Unfortunately, that injury did delay the start of his basketball season. In fact, he was unable to play until the second semester.
Halderman missed the first eight games of the season. A three-year starter for the Blue Devils at guard, he averaged 7.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.8 assists per game for a squad that finished 14-7 overall. He was named All-SCBL Honorable Mention. The Blue Devils finished in third place in the final league standings behind co-champions Cedar Vale/Dexter and Udall.
“I didn’t get to play the first two months of basketball,” Halderman said. “I started off a little rusty then gradually got better and the team played very well.”
Although he had to miss some time in basketball due to the injury, he was healthy and looking forward to a full baseball season this spring. Instead, the pandemic forced the cancellation of the Blue Devils’ season by the Kansas State High School Activities Association … putting an end to Halderman’s athletic career at Sedan.
Halderman was coming off a junior campaign in which he was named All-Walter Johnson League/SCBL at catcher and shortstop. He recorded a .456 batting average with four doubles, a team-high five triples, team-best 22 RBIs and 27 runs scored. The Blue Devils finished 10-9, which included a share of second place with West Elk in the final league standings.
“I was looking forward to bettering myself my senior season and having fun with my teammates,” Halderman said. “I feel like we were gonna have a pretty good season. I was very sad because I couldn’t finish my senior year.”
Halderman was a two-year participant in Future Farmers of America (FFA) and Letterman’s Club and was also the Class President his junior and senior years. Although he is looking ahead to the start of his military career during the summer, he should still be able to participate in graduation ceremonies at Sedan High School, which is expected to take place sometime in June.
Upon his graduation, he will be preparing to move on to basic training outside of Chicago. He will be there for about eight weeks of training before spending eight more weeks in Florida, where he will eventually be assigned to a Naval ship.
“I’ve talked about other branches, but the Navy just stuck out to me,” Halderman said. “I’m excited about going and seeing the world. It will be different because I will have to get used to not being home all the time. I plan on being an aviation ordinance man. Until then, I will just study my Navy book and keep working out.”
Now that he is wrapping up his high school career, Halderman said he can reflect back on some of the highlights of his four years at SHS.
“Being a Sedan Blue Devil is something that has made me who I am today,” Halderman said. “I will always be a Blue Devil. I have loved everything it has given me. The last memory I have is probably walking down the hallway for the last time not knowing it was my last time in Sedan High School.”
A LITTLE MORE ABOUT TAYTE HALDERMAN …
EASTERN KANSAS SPORTS: What are some of your interests and hobbies away from school?
HALDERMAN: “My favorite hobbies away from school are hanging out with friends and family, going arrowhead hunting, and going fishing.”
EASTERN KANSAS SPORTS: Who is your favorite athlete? Favorite sports team? Favorite music group/singer?
HALDERMAN: “My favorite athlete is Patrick Mahomes. My favorite sports team is the Kansas City Chiefs. I like to listen to country music, and my favorite singer is Luke Combs.”
EASTERN KANSAS SPORTS: Who are the people that you look up to as far as role models?
HALDERMAN: “I look up to my parents as role models because they have taught me so many great things in life.”
EASTERN KANSAS SPORTS: What is a fun fact about you that people may or may not know?
HALDERMAN: “A fun fact about me is I like to go fishing at the lake with my brother.”