High Five: WHS senior talks applied math, top spin and playing the big sister role

Published 5:36 pm Thursday, September 15, 2022

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Washington High School’s Katherine Pollock senior tennis season is off to a 5-1 start after a summer of preparation mixed with advanced learning. Pollock, the Packs top singles player for the second straight year, qualified for the 2A state tournament in doubles last fall and is breaking in a new pardner after Olivia Paszt graduated. The National Honor Society student (4.0 GPA) is looking to return while also looking forward to her future.

  1. How does it feel to be a high school senior?

Katherine: A little strange, but I’m getting more used to it since school has started. It seems like it’s taken forever to be at the top of the heap, so to speak, since I’ve been looking forward to it for quite a while. I remember (former teammates) Emme Davis and Leah Spencer helping me adjust to high school when I was starting, so I’m trying to do the same for others now. I’ll give them rides home and try to be a good role model for them.

  1. You spent a month this summer attending Governor’s School at Meredith College in Raleigh. It’s a summer academic enrichment program, but you found time to improve your tennis game. How did all that work?

Katherine: Governor’s School was an amazing experience and I loved it. Kids from all over the state applied and (fellow senior) John Hinchey and I were lucky enough to get accepted from WHS. He went to Winston-Salem State, while I was at Meredith. My group decided to do research on real world applications for number theory and modular arithmetic. We knew nothing about it going in and learned it’s used in security systems and keeping banking transactions protected. We also had quite a bit of free time, which I used to play tennis against some really good players almost every day. We stayed in the dorms and ate in the cafeteria, so we got a good feel for college life. I met a. lot of really smart people and had a great time.

  1. When did you start playing and how has your game improved?

Katherine: Both my first and second serves are better. I’ve learned to put more top spin on it and place it better. My overall mechanics are better and I’m using my legs more to get more power. I have a higher toss and have learned to pronate my racket to create more spin. I come out on the weekends quite a bit and play with different people. I started playing my sophomore year after Mary Emma Holscher and Lilly Francis Lobos encouraged me to try. I used to be a catcher in softball, so they thought my hand-eye coordination would help. Tennis is really fun and I’m glad I listened to them.

  1. After competing at state with an older doubles partner, you are breaking in a freshman this fall. How has that gone?

Katherine: I love playing with Addison Gibbs. She hits with a lot of power and knows how to place the ball well. She’s also very good at putting it away to end the point. Our opponents in singles are usually our doubles opponents, so we share what we’ve learned before our doubles match. I try to encourage her and keep her confidence up and we’ve done really well so far.

  1. Are you planning to use what you learned at Governor’s School in college?

Katherine: It was interesting, but no. I’m looking at majoring in economics or engineering at UNC-Chapel Hill with a path toward law school. I’ve applied at several schools, including N.C. State and Duke, but I’d really like to get into UNC.

Bonus question: What do you like to do when you aren’t studying or playing tennis?

Katherine: I’m learning to play the guitar and I’m learning American Sign Language. I have a deaf friend with whom I would like to communicate better. My mom is the children’s minister at First Christian Church and I’d like to get good enough to play the guitar during church.