Photo by Scott Power, Daily Post Athenian
McMinn County High School tennis player Kaitlynn Barlok (seated center). Joining her at the signing ceremony were her parents (seated), Michael and Teresa Barlok and grandmother Jeanie Mankin; (back row) treammate Shelby Monroe, McMinn Coach Lynn Monroe, TWC Coach Eric LaRue and McMinn Athletic Director Jimmy Haynie.
Kaitlynn Barlok, a senior at McMinn County High School, has signed to continue her tennis career at Tennessee Wesleyan College in the fall of 2014
"He talked to me for about a year and at first I said no," Barlok said. "But then it began getting closer to making a decision and I started thinking about it some more. It wasn't but the last two or three months that I started thinking about Wesleyan. TWC is close to home, it gives me a chance to play tennis and study in the major I want - Wesleyan was the only school I applied for."
"She's a very hard worker and she's likes doubles," LaRue said. "Not every player likes to play doubles so that makes her very valuable. If she keeps working hard, I think she can possibly be on our No. 2 doubles team and help out as a No. 4 or 5 in singles. That makes her a very valuable freshman because, on the NAIA level, depth is very important." LaRue said Barlok's strengths are her forehand and solid play at the net, while she still needs a bit of work on some footwork. She also needs adjust to the intensity of practice on the college level, something he said every freshman has to adjust to. But he thinks Barlok will be a nice addition to the team.
Barlok still has one year of high school tennis left and she hopes to go out on a good note. She and doubles partner Shelby Monroe reached the second round of the state tournament last season. "Our goal this year is to do better than we did last year," Barlok said. "Besides, I need to go to the State again because my brother (Michael) went twice and I can't let him say he did better than me."
McMinn Coach Lynn Monroe believes Barlok will find success as a Lady Bulldog. "She is a good player and a good person," Monroe said. "She works hard and she's a really strong player. That's her strength - her powerful shots. I'm looking forward to watching her play this year with us and I think she will do well at Wesleyan."
Barlok plans to be a pre-physical therapy major at Tennessee Wesleyan.