PW #230: Middle Grade Contemporary: THE WILDCATS

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Shanna Rogers
Mentee: Katharine Manning
Category/Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Word Count: 30,000


Ten-year-old Hailey dominates the Wildcats soccer team with her fierce footwork. But when a new player shows up who thinks she’s all that and a jelly doughnut, Hailey has to decide how much she’s willing to give up to preserve her all-star status.


Hailey tore down the field, soccer ball bouncing in front of her. Her cleats made divots in the soft grass and threw mud behind her as she ran.

One more defender. She came at Hailey fast.

Grace called to Hailey. She was open, but there was no way Hailey was giving up this ball.

Slow. Slow.


The defender jumped at the ball. Hailey popped it past her. Now it was Hailey and a wide-open goal. She tapped it into the net, easy like Sunday morning, as her dad would say.

“Yes!” Hailey whipped her head back and forth in a victory dance, her beaded braids clattering in her ponytail. She and Grace touched index fingers, their own special mini-high-five.

Coach Katz blew his whistle and clapped, clipboard under his arm. “Nice practice, girls. I like that ball control, Hailey, but don’t forget to use your teammates. Grace was wide open.”

“That’s okay,” Grace said quickly to Hailey as they headed to the sideline. “You had an awesome run.”

The team gathered around Coach Katz. “Take a seat, everyone,” he said. “I’ve got some exciting news. We have a new player coming in and she is something. Her name is Nicola Dusek. She’s been the star of her league in Florida, and her dad just got a job up here.”

“What’s her position?” Hailey asked.

“She’s been at center forward, Hailey.”

Hailey’s eyes narrowed. That was her position.


Author: Heather Cashman

With a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, the lab reports always lacked the fantastical element Heather's imagination demands. Hypotheses turned into taglines and novels, so she's going back to college for a Creative Writing degree. Her novels range from Epic Fantasy to Contemporary Speculative Fiction, she dabbles in picture books, and is currently seeking representation. ~Member SCBWI

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1 Comment

  1. What a fun story! Please send the full manuscript (as well as a synopsis if you have one) to with “Pitch Wars: [YOUR TITLE]” as the subject line. Please also include your query in the body of the email. I look forward to reading!

    -Lauren Spieller, TriadaUS

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