By JUSTIN RAINS
The spring semester is a busy one for plenty of high school athletes in the area.
The spring has a higher concentration of sports going on, plus there are state tests, prom and other extra-curricular activities in the works.
That has been the case for Neches junior Kelsee Wade, who this semester alone has played basketball, softball and tennis, and thrown the discus, as well as taken tests and worked with her animals for the Anderson County Youth Livestock Show.
Oh, and she’s also the No. 1-ranked student in the Neches’ Class of 2014.
“You just have to take it one thing at a time,” Wade said. “You’ve just got to line it up by due dates, stay organized and then just do one thing at a time. I tried to do it all at once, and it was all chaotic.”
Despite all of the goings-on still under way, it will all take a backseat on Monday and Tuesday to tennis, as Wade begins her quest to win a state title on the court.
A year after finishing third at regionals and just missing a spot at state, Wade won the Class 1A, Region III varsity girls’ singles’ title last week at Stephen F. Austin University.
“The two (girls) that beat me last year were seniors, so I was like ‘Well, it’s my spot now,’” Wade said. “So I decided that I was going to win it.”
With the win, she qualified for the state tournament in College Station, where she’ll take on Shea Burkett of Borden County, beginning at 8 a.m. Monday.
Tennis success isn’t surprising for Wade, who’s mom — former Frankston volleyball coach Dana Wade —played at the college level.
Having a mentor on the court like that is invaluable, the junior said.
“She didn’t even go to college to play, she was just playing in a class and they asked her to be on the team,” Wade said of her mom’s experience. “I do like playing with her, because she can still whoop me.”
All totaled, Wade — who played with the Neches softball team in a playoff game Friday and who also throws discus at regionals today — is shooting for her third state medal.
She won two as part of the Neches girls’ basketball team’s incredible run of three-straight titles, winning her last one in March 2012.
That sort of experience will come in handy on the big stage, she said.
“There’s a lot of people that they don’t have a state background,” she said. “The nerves might get to them. They might be better than me (on the court), but they don’t have that experience and I can beat them with my mind.”