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Pickrel brings enthusiasm to FHS tennis and more

Photo: Dani Schaaf

Kaitlyn Pickrel returns a volley during a Girls' Varsity Tennis match. Pickrel packs a number of activities and responsibilities into her life, but she makes it look easy.

By Kelly Hart, Sports Editor

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Being on a varsity sport all four years of high school isn’t very common. Going to State in a varsity sport isn’t quite a walk in the park either. And balancing a varsity sport with several activities and school is far from easy. However, senior tennis player Kaitlin Pickrel manages all of the above.

It may help a little that Pickrel has been playing tennis ever since she can remember. “I’ve been playing tennis since I could hold a racket,” she said. Walther Park was where it all began, playing pick-up with her parents and older sister whenever they got free time. “My family is definitely my biggest influence in playing the game.”

Being skilled in tennis obviously runs in the family. Since Pickrel’s older sister Lauren was just two grades older, they had the opportunity to compete together and they certainly took advantage of it. Kaitlin’s sophomore year and Lauren’s senior year, the sisters went to State in First Doubles. “Our first match at State was unreal,” said Kaitlin. “The hits were coming out of nowhere.”

The Pickrel sisters lost in the second round at State. “It was bittersweet,” said Kaitlin. “I was proud of what we accomplished, but I was sad to know that it was the last time I would play with my sister in high school. I really miss playing with her. We had so much chemistry together, and after a mess-up we could just move on and get over it because we were so close.”

Lauren’s career didn’t end at that State competition. She earned a scholarship to Ball State University to play tennis. Pickrel definitely has her eyes set on playing in college but doesn’t know exactly where yet. She is looking at schools similar to Ball State University, though. “I’m looking at schools that will fit my type of player.”

Pickrel may no longer be playing with her sister, but she still has teammates who enjoy playing with her. “Kaitlin is so exciting to play with,” said senior Co-Captain Laura Cordonnier. “She has tons of passion for the game and is so dedicated.”

Since her junior year, Pickrel has been playing First Singles, ranking third in GWOC last year. This year, she hopes to do even better with a record of 13-3 as of Sept. 22. Pickrel has a tough schedule ahead of her but is staying positive and intends to win them all. “A positive mentality is huge for me,” she said. “If you go into a match with a negative mentality, then you’ve already lost.”

Tennis isn’t just a sport to Pickrel. It’s something that’s constantly on TV in the Pickrel household. One of her favorite things to do is go out and practice her game. “I don’t even think of it as practicing. It’s something my friends and I do to hang out, and we end up getting better, too,” said Pickrel.

Along with being co-captain of the tennis team, Pickrel is involved in a long list of activities at Fairmont. She’s is a commissioner on United Student Body, editor of the yearbook, a member of National Honor Society and on the 2010 Homecoming Court. She also planned this year’s Homecoming Dance. “I have a pretty intense schedule,” said Pickrel. “I manage to balance everything and try to get as much sleep as possible.”

Pickrel is a very active student-athlete at Fairmont. “Even though I’m involved in a good amount of things, I love going and supporting everyone at their sporting events,” she said. “I couldn’t imaging being anywhere but Fairmont. It’s such a great school and everyone is so supportive of each other.”

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The school newsmagazine of Kettering Fairmont High School.
Pickrel brings enthusiasm to FHS tennis and more