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Double duty

Youngsville’s Kamryn Weissinger to play volleyball and softball at Grove City

Submitted Photo Kamryn Weissinger with her father, Troy.

It can’t be done, or at least it shouldn’t be done.

But that would mean you don’t know Kamryn Weissinger.

The Youngsville High School senior has been overcoming obstacles her entire life. One after the other for this small-town girl.

You see, Kamryn doesn’t avoid challenges. She looks for them.

Doesn’t matter if she’s not the fastest player on the team. Doesn’t matter if she’s not the strongest. Not the most naturally-gifted.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Parkin Youngsville senior Kamryn Weissinger goes up for a block last fall in volleyball. Kamryn will continue playing at Grove City College, both in volleyball and softball.

She’ll outwork you. She’ll out-think you. She’ll be standing there in the end. And you’ll be rooting for her to succeed.

When the opportunity presented itself to play a sport at Grove City College in the fall, Weissinger said, why not play two?

“She has always been stubborn and determined,” said her dad and longtime coach, Troy. “We noticed at a young age, with the way she did everything, it was never ‘Let’s take a stab at this,’ it was always, ‘I am going to master this, study it, and make it work for me.’ That was her attitude. On the other hand, she always knew what she wanted and if she didn’t want to do it, she didn’t. We never said you can’t, it was you can if you try, and she never accepted failure.”

Even though she knows playing both college volleyball and softball will be time-consuming and challenging, both physically and mentally, it just feels right.

“Grove City was one of the colleges I decided to visit in the fall of last year,” said Kamryn. “I was mostly considering local colleges, like Mercyhurst and Westminster, but when I visited Grove City, I was set. Sports, at first, were not a huge factor in deciding my college because I wanted to find a school that was the right fit for me regardless of if I would be participating in sports or not. My family has supported me in my decision to compete in both sports at the collegiate level. It was a tough decision, but after many talks with my parents and talking to both of my future coaches, Sayles and Cramer, they assured me that people compete in two sports all the time and are still incredibly successful in their academics. I also chose to pursue both because it’s been normal for me to be competing in multiple sports at once while staying on top of my studies. It will keep me on a set schedule and give me a sense of normalcy. I’ve stayed in touch with the coaches and there won’t be much overlap. They both said that when I am in their respective seasons, the other coach will understand if I am not present at everything because I will still be keeping in shape and practicing.”

Kamryn has played volleyball, basketball, and softball at Youngsville High School, but oh, no, that’s not all. She plays travel volleyball and softball, practicing year-round for both.

“The pros? To continue playing the sports I love, keep me structured, stay in shape, of course, and two sports families so I will already know people on campus. I will have the support of coaches and will have mentors other than professors, so easier to schedule around games.

“Cons? I won’t have a lot of downtime; I’m studying a difficult major so I will have a lot of homework on top of practice and games, I might miss classes, I’m not great at delegating my time so I might become very overwhelmed at points.”

She’s got this.

See KAMRYN / Page B2

“She puts her nose down when the pressure is on, she understands hard work,” said Troy. “She also understands that she needs help, relys on teammates, parents and coaches to help her through. She stays humble and allows the right people, situations and experiences to speak to her life, but is able to define herself through those at the same time.”

Softball has a special place in her heart because it’s the sport that has essentially raised her, and made her strong.

“We saw this at an early age, even when she started Little League, she was very determined to play and get it right, but never at the expense of her teammates,” said Troy. “I think you can attest to this, getting her nose split and wanting to keep playing… Why? To help her team.

“I honestly believe that’s why she is successful — the way she treats people and her teammates, always putting them first and doing whatever she can to make them comfortable and succeed,” he said. “Is she the best player? No, but as her dad, I have to say she can hold her own and, when her confidence is there, can play with anyone.

“Honestly, I am not sure how she will handle two sports and the workload, but that’s what makes her who she is. She will fight for the team, her teammates, and herself, balance her time, prioritize her day, and work the plan. Why? She will not let herself or her team down.”

Win or lose, she is all-in.

“Kam, as a freshman, was already a well-experienced player and knew the game of softball very well,” said Youngsville softball coach Scott Ishman. “She was already on a travel team and working at home during the summer to improve her game, and still is today. In the last four years coaching Kam, she has been a solid player and example for younger team members to see how hard work pays off. Also, Kam has been a wealth of knowledge and help over the years for younger players to learn from, and she loves to share her knowledge so others can improve and strive to succeed. I guess over time I have relied on Kam to be that role model for others, lead the outfield, and overall help with coaching her teammates along the way. Her helping with coaching others was always a big help to me because we are a small staff and to have a player, a coach, and a teammate the girls can relate to is amazing. She will be missed by all of us.”

She is easy to root for.

“My parents have been incredibly supportive and have helped me a lot with this next big step. Of course, my parents had a lot of input and I am very close with my parents, so their opinions and thoughts meant a lot and played a big part in my decision. They both sat down with me one night and told me they knew I could do both and they would be there if things got tough and I needed help and, from that moment on, I’ve been confident that I can do both. My dad has been my softball coach ever since I started playing. And both of my parents have taken me to all of my late-night games and early-morning practices and have been the absolute best support system out there.

“My mom (Holly), she has been my sounding board when I need to talk and just get all my frustrations out,” said Kamryn. “She has stood by my side in everything and, as much as I hate to admit, she was right: she is the one that convinced me to start volleyball in junior high.

“My coaches over the years have also played a huge role in my athletic journey. Dave Reynolds, my travel softball coach, called me three years ago after I was convinced I’d never play softball at a higher level again, and offered me a spot on his travel team he was building. Since that tryout, I’ve played for the Tri-County Surge Softball organization and it has impacted my view on the game immensely. The bonds I created with people and the game itself has been crazy. I had a very rough patch with softball, but the coaches, teammates, and parents of the organization helped me fall back in love with the sport. Earlier in my career, I also had coaches that gave me the jumpstart I needed with the sport and helped me create a firm foundation and continued to be influences from a distance, one such includes Jon Sitler.

“My high school volleyball coach, Vicky Montecalvo, really gave me the push I needed when it came to volleyball,” said Kamryn. “She knew how to push me even farther everyday and gave me the confidence that I could play at a higher level. My travel volleyball coach as well, Scott Olson, has had a massive impact on my volleyball career. He showed me every angle of the game and pushed for me to get myself in front of college coaches. Him and Vicky both instilled confidence in me and forced me out of my comfort zone to shape me into the player I am today.”

So, she continues to play.

“Softball is one of those sports that is just genuinely fun to play, in the backyard at cookouts or competitively in the summer at tournaments,” said Kamryn. “Volleyball is the same way. I only started playing in seventh-grade, but I immediately fell in love with it. Both games require more than just physical skill, which is why I love them. You are constantly anticipating and thinking quick on your feet. You have to study the game, not just play it.”

Sounds just like a molecular biology major, doesn’t it? Oh, with a concentrate in genetics.

“I just want people to know that it doesn’t matter where you come from, and that you can do anything you put your mind to,” said Kamryn. “Sounds really cheesy, but it’s true. All my life I used the excuse ‘I’m from little old Youngsville, so I’m not getting enough opportunities, and blah blah blah,’ but if you really want something and put your all into it, it will pay off. The path may be rough. In fact it will be hard and stressful and I can guarantee you will want to quit and give up, but once you overcome those hardships, the end result is so worth it, and that’s a promise.”

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