Time management on and off the court keeps Kennedy Coleman on top

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By Lance Catchings

Kennedy Coleman has been a multi-sport student-athlete almost all her life. She enters her senior fall tennis season as one of the most decorated players on the team and in Liberty Hill High School history. She is a 4A regional semifinalist two times over and a quarter-finalist three times over in various tennis events.

What is even more impressive is that she has accomplished this with multiple head coaching changes. In her final season, she will be looking to put an exclamation point on her tennis career with a new head coach, but Coleman takes it all in stride.

“Senior year comes fast, and I just want to have fun and play well,” Coleman said.

“Everything that Coach (Phillip) Dodd has brought in and said sounds good. I think it is the kind of stuff that helps build programs. We have always been used to just getting by with tennis, so this will be a stressful change, but I think it is much needed.”

Fall tennis is team tennis and with the new coach things will be different than they have been in the past. Coleman is looking forward to the change even though it means she may not be playing mixed doubles this fall.

“I will play singles and I do not know if I will playing mixed doubles this year,” she said.

“Coach Dodd is putting everyone in the best places for us to win the most, so we will have to wait and see. Usually during the fall, teams do not put their best players in mixed doubles so we may not be needed to play there. I have always had to focus on girls’ singles in the fall because during fall tennis we usually play both. I am excited and there is nothing wrong with trying something new, especially if it helps us win. I thought I would hate doubles before I tried it and I ended up liking it.”

Along with balancing athletics, Coleman is also winning in another area — the classroom. Heading into her senior year she is ranked first in her class and would love to be named valedictorian when it is all said and done.

“Academics is the most important thing to me because I never planned or wanted to play sports in college,” she said.

“My plan was always to go to college for academics and try to advance in possibly the medical field or something similar. That was always something that has been more important to me than sports. Even now, no matter how much I enjoy playing sports my grades are more important. The way I see it sports are for fun and my grades are for my future.”

When asked how she handles all her responsibilities she simply said time management is the key to success.

“So far for me it has not been a major struggle balancing sports and everything else,” she said. “Even in junior high school I stayed active and was in all the sports. This year I will be president of the National Honor Society as well as the other things on my plate. You can handle everything if you can be a good planner and that is what most people don’t realize. It is not that hard, you just have to make time for it and that your steps are planned out.”

It’s hard to believe that someone that is so on top of time management didn’t plan to be in this position, but Coleman said it just sort of happened.

“I never had the mentality starting high school that I want to be the valedictorian or anything like that,” she said.

“I just want to make sure that I keep my grades up. I hope that I get it, but it is not something I strive for daily. I try to make sure that I am keeping good grades and doing as well as I can in my classes because I need to. Freshman year it was a surprise when I found out I was tied for first in my class. It wasn’t something that I expected.”

Although sports take a back burner to her academics she admits it would be special to her to be named top of her class as well as being a student-athlete. There is an unpopular stereotype that student-athletes don’t always work hard in the classroom and Liberty Hill High School athletics has put that misconception to bed.

“It would mean a lot to me to have these accomplishments and be a student-athlete,” she said.

“I think that is a stereotype that happens for no reason. Most of the kids at Liberty Hill that are at the head of the class are involved in sports. Of my classmates ranked right behind me one runs cross country and the other has been in the band and NHS all four years. It is one of those things that we have all done together so it was never just me balancing these responsibilities, other kids here are doing it as well.”

Coleman and her teammates open the tennis season against San Marcos Thursday and she is excited to get underway.

“I am excited about our first tennis tournament this season,” she said.

“I don’t know that we have ever played San Marcos, so it will be neat to go down there. It will be exciting to see how Coach Dodd organizes and handles everything.”

Lance@LHIndependent.com

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