|Union City’s Wheeles works hard for grant |
|Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 6:06 am |
| By KEVIN WEAKS |
Kaitlyn Wheeles simply wants to be the best she can be.
That’s why she puts in extra work in the classroom and on the softball field. It is also why she chose to attend Austin Peay’s nursing school.
“I want to be a nurse anesthetist, and they have the top nursing program in the state,” Wheeles said. “If I’m going to do something, I want to be the best at it, so I’m going for their nursing program. Softball is a big plus.”
Softball will help Wheeles pay for her nursing degree, the Union City senior having signed a grant-in-aid to play for the Lady Governors next season.
Wheeles has been a four-year starter for the Lady Tornadoes. She hit .351 and led UC with 39 hits and 12 extra-base hits last season. As a senior, she is batting over .330 with a fielding percentage of nearly .900.
It’s the many things Wheeles has done that do not show up on a stat sheet, however, that earned her a college scholarship. Union City head coach Shane Sisco and assistant Jason Qualls, who wrote letters of recommendation to APSU on her behalf, both noted her work ethic on the field.
“Kaitlyn has taken advantage of every chance she’s had to get better on her own, and that’s a big reason why she’s gotten this opportunity,” Sisco said. “She’s certainly worked hard to improve her skills — and a big part of that is continuing to play in the summer and not just when it’s time for the high school season. That’s what separates the average players from the good ones — the commitment made when it’s not necessarily convenient or someone is making you.”
“I just told the truth about her,” Qualls said of his recommendation. “You can ask her to do anything, and she’ll get it done. She’s a leader, and she always does the right thing. Kaitlyn’s the kind of kid you want on your team. She’s coachable, and she always wants to be better. She’ll do what it takes to be a better player.”
For Wheeles, persistance paid off, too. She made sure that whenever Austin Peay held a softball camp, she was there.
“They’ve hosted skills camps and other camps, and I tried to be at every one,” she said. “At my last skills camp, she (head coach Casey Dickson) asked to talk with me afterward and then asked if I’d like to come play for them.”
Wheeles said the Lady Gov coaches are projecting her to be a right fielder and second baseman and could be penciled in the lineup anywhere needed.
Wheeles always seems be where she’s needed. Her list of academic accomplishments, extracurricular achievements and leadership responsibilities at Union City is certainly impressive.
A Top 10 student with a 3.6 grade point average in the Tennessee Scholars and magnet school program, she has been a member of numerous school clubs and an award winner in activities ranging from cheerleader to chemistry and FBLA. Wheeles’ community service efforts include being a blood donor, a Special Olympics volunteer with participation in the “polar plunge” fund raiser, and a Union City Parks and Recreation softball summer camp volunteer.
Before moving on to Clarksville, Wheeles has a few more things to accomplish with UC’s softball team. She would like to help the Lady Twisters, currently 17-10, get past the first round of the regional tournament for the first time in school history and follow the lead of the girls’ basketball team by reaching the state tournament.
Sports reporter Kevin Weaks can be contacted by email at email@example.com. Published in The Messenger 4.26.12