Rider Keeps Active

ST. MARYS — Senior Roughrider Katie Peterson, 17, has had an active and successful high school career in all areas.

She is a member of the tennis team, of FCA, Relay For Life, the all-brass band, and outside of Memorial High School is involved in 4-H.

This is Peterson’s sixth year playing tennis, where she plays first singles.

“When I’m playing I just kind of zone everything out and it’s only just me and the other person playing,” she said.

Tennis is not just about her, though, as her family is big into the sport as well. Peterson’s younger brother, Jonathan, plays for the middle school.

“(My family has) played badminton games at family reunions, and we liked it so we just got into (tennis) as a whole family,” she said.

“Last year, I placed 4th in the WBL,” she said. “There’s 12 or 13 people in our area. It would have been everyone from 3rd singles. There’s like five positions, 1st, 2nd and 3rd singles, and then the two doubles positions. Last year I was 3rd singles, but this year I was 1st singles. And 1st singles is usually your best player.”

Peterson found out this past summer that her coach had picked her to play first singles.

“(I was) excited and nervous, and I knew it was going to be a hard year,” she said. “I knew it would be very difficult to get some wins in, but it was OK. I didn’t do very well, but it was fun, just being able to go out and play — that’s the best part.”

Peterson expects that the sport will continue to be a part of her life, even if there are little or no opportunities for her to play competitively in college.

“When my brother gets up in high school, I want to be able to help him and make him better,” she said.

Peterson plans to attend Wright State Lake Campus in the fall, to study middle school education. Her grandmother is a teacher at the high school, and Peterson said she has always felt a pull toward the field.

“I’ve always wanted to (teach) since I was in third grade,” she said. “I had my little (pretend) classroom. It’s just all I’ve ever really thought of doing,” she said. “I like kids, but not too little of kids and not too old of kids — middle school would be better for me. (Even though) everyone says they’re brats and they’re annoying.”

Peterson chose middle school as the concentration for her education degree because of the importance of having good role models at that age.

“I want to make an impact on them,” she said. “It’s just a good age. You start to realize who you are, what you’re going to do.”

Aside from tennis, Peterson is also involved in Relay for Life, and has been since her junior year.

“It’s a good cause,” she said. “It gets the word out there and I just like to be able to raise money for it ... I like to hear what other people are in it for. We do this ‘Tell Me Why You Relay’ and a couple people will go up and talk about it. And I like hearing their stories about their family members and what they had to go through. It just makes everything, what we’re doing, better.”

Peterson plays trumpet in the all-brass band, and was one of the participants in the band’s trip to Florida over winter break. This was, hands down, the highlight of her high school career and something she will always remember, she said.

“We prepared so much for it,” Peterson said, including three weeks of preparation before the trip and for most of the previous summer. “We sounded really good.”

Outside of Memorial High School, Peterson and her family raise hogs at their home and show them at the local fair through 4-H.

Peterson’s family has had much success with this, and their hogs have placed first in their division.

Raising hogs was something her father had done when he was younger, Peterson said, and wanted to pass along the tradition to his children. Peterson always stuck with hogs, while her little brother tried his hand at raising goats for a while.

“Goats are very stubborn,” she said. “You have to drag them everywhere.”

Peterson said she is excited about the next big adventure college presents, but also a little nervous to face something new and different.

“I’m afraid of how hard (my) classes are going to be, and how much debt I’m going to be in (when I graduate),” she said.