OCEAN — Katie Sink didn’t have much to do with tennis until high school. And now she eats, drinks and sleeps it.
The Croatan junior’s full immersion in the sport has paid off with a 5-0 record at No. 3 singles and 3-0 mark as a member of the No. 1 doubles team.
“I’ve gotten lessons, went to clinics, gotten lessons from my coach, played with my teammates, played with my parents, I just don’t’ stop playing,” Sink said.
Her parents play – her mother was on her high school team – and had tried to get her to take up the sport when she was younger.
“It just didn’t click,” she said.
Sink finally grabbed the racket for good as a freshman and played exhibition matches. Last year, she moved all the way up to No. 3 singles and started her career by losing her first three matches.
“Those were the first matches I played that counted,” she said. “I was really nervous.”
After that bumpy start, she rattled off eight consecutive wins.
“That surprised me,” she said. “I was very happy.”
The Cougars went 5-0 in the 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference to captured the league title after playing a schedule shortened by Hurricane Florence. They finished 9-3 overall and advanced to the third round of the state dual playoffs for the first time in school history.
Sink ended up 8-4 at No. 3 singles and 3-2 at No. 2 doubles with Madison Maxwell.
“I felt that for my first year, I played well,” she said. “I had a lot of fun.”
The start of her junior campaign couldn’t have gone much better. She’s 8-0 overall with a 5-0 mark in singles and 3-0 in doubles. Sink has been dominant in singles, blanking opponents in five of her nine sets and giving up just one game in each of the four other sets.
Croatan has gone 6-0 and hasn’t give up more than two matches in a contest, winning three by 9-0 scores, one by a 8-1 score and two by 7-2 scores.
“It’s a good season,” she said. “We were expecting to be good. We’ve been practicing all summer long. We’ve put a lot of work into it.”
Sink has been taken aback by how much time she’s spent on the court since the end of last season.
“I’m really surprised I’ve fallen in love with it this much,” she said. “I didn’t think I would love it this much. I’ve gotten better from last year. I take it seriously. I’m hoping to get a scholarship.”
Sink said she’s improved her power and serves and gotten a little bit better at the net but still needs to strengthen her net game, which she considers the weakest part of her play.
“I want to improve my skills,” she said. “I have to keep working on that.”
Sink hopes to play tennis at the college level, whether that means earning a scholarship or walking on. A standout student with a 3.5 GPA, she plans on majoring in psychology.
“I’ve been thinking about that four or five years,” she said. “A lot of my family is in medicine, including aunts and uncles in psychology. I’ve always wanted to be a psychologist or therapist.”
Here are a few of Sink’s favorite things, as well as her ideal groups with which to eat dinner and survive a zombie apocalypse and the five items she would take with her on a deserted island:
Favorite Movie: “RV.”
Favorite TV Show: “Once Upon A Time.”
Favorite Cartoon: “Tom and Jerry.”
Favorite Band/Artist: Lauren Daigle.
Favorite Song: “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle.
Favorite Book: The Cellar by Natasha Preston
Favorite Team: Croatan Cougars.
Favorite Athlete: Serena Williams.
Favorite Vacation: Disney World.
Favorite Hobby: Tennis.
Favorite Subject: English.
Favorite Quote: “She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” – Proverbs 31:25.
Favorite Food: Spaghetti.
Favorite Drink: Sweet tea.
Favorite Restaurant: Buffalo Wild Wings.
Favorite Season: Fall.
Favorite Sports Memory: Winning the conference championship.
Favorite Teacher: Ms. Kalen Perry.
Favorite Sport: Tennis.
Favorite Pre-Game/Post-Game Ritual: Praying/huddle and chant.
Favorite Website/App: Snapchat.
Favorite Follow on Twitter/Instagram: Family and friends.
Ideal Dinner Guest List: Taylor Swift, Serena Williams, Cole Sprouse, Lauren Daigle and my mom.
Ideal Group To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse: Maddie Tsirlis, Laura Hartman, Aidan Cobbs, Jess Stern, Grace Burrows and coach Jim Sheehan.
Items For A Deserted Island: My cat, food, water, phone and Bible.