Prep Signing: Graham will play at Catawba
SALISBURY — Sometimes it’s nice to just have one opponent.
When Salisbury’s Caroline Graham is between the lines on the tennis courts at the Windsor Eagle Athletic Complex, the whirlwind schedule of an highly-functioning senior calms down and it’s see the ball, hit the ball.
“It’s like I have 50 million things going on at one time,” Graham said. “For having the workload, I work well under pressure.”
Graham has juggled Key Club President, yearbook editor, football manager and student government duties while holding a 4.3 GPA her final year at SHS. She wants to continue that mile-a-minute lifestyle at Catawba, where she’ll play tennis. It’s close to home and life will still be noisy with all that going on. However, the sport she’s played since she was four will still be there to decrease the static.
“The situation is perfect,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for a better chance to continue my career. The coach is one of the best coaches I’ve ever met.”
Graham knows tennis coach Jeff Childress pretty well and has received his instruction and guidance at clinics. There’s also relationships that have been fostered with the players at Catawba along with the family history.
Her dad, Bill, played tennis at Catawba and mom, Shari, is also an alum.
The Indians have a pair of East Rowan grads, Hannah Kovach and Kayela Wilson, on the roster currently, and Caroline relishes the chance to play with some local talent.
She’s played tennis since a young age, when Bobby Chrismon showed her the ropes at the Country Club of Salisbury. Salisbury Tennis Academy director Jack Thompson is another mentor she credits. Salisbury coach Chris Myers helped her prepare for the college and become a solid high school player. She learned from peers as well and applied their teachings.
There was no better program to improve under than Salisbury, which hasn’t lost a conference match since 2001. Graham stood in and watched the likes of Joy Loeblein, Katelyn Storey and Madeline Hoskins, all-county players and teammates, during her first three years. Each time it ended in a celebration in Burlington. An all-conference season came her junior year when she went undefeated in helping the Hornets to a fourth-straight state 2A title.
Graham filled in for Madeline Hoskins, who was helping the golf team win a state title. During a state playoff match against Bunker Hill in 2011 and won handily, 6-2, 6-0 to improve to 18-0.
She didn’t play much on the USTA circuit, but has put in the time between on the tennis court after school.
“She’s a great teammate and always worked to get better,” Myers said. “She’s also a great contributor to the Salisbury community.”
So ever the opportunistic sort, Graham will resume another extracurricular activity. College tennis at Catawba brings familiarity but also new challenges.
“I got the chance and I took it,” Graham said.