Hometown: Anderson, South Carolina
Major: Economics (International track)
Class of 2012
Favorite Pirate Experience: Winning the 2009 National Championship, avenging a regular season loss to Lynn University.
Best Advice: Believe in yourself, work hard and trust in what you’re doing.
It Was There All Along
by Kolby Harrell
It’s no secret. The recipe for a great athlete calls for both tangible and intangible qualities. You know—balance, strength, drive, discipline, teamwork—attributes that separate the majors from the minors, the mighty from the meek, the medalists from the medal-less.
For senior women’s tennis player Kathleen Henry, there’s one particular quality that’s been especially difficult to capture: confidence.
Being the first US-born scholarship recipient to enter the program in over a decade, Henry was unsure of her ability to impact a team whose previous success was rooted in international talent. Also, having been home-schooled since seventh grade, she was similarly insecure about her ability to handle the college workload.
Then it happened: Henry had a breakout season in 2010, was named Peach Belt Conference Tournament MVP, earned All-PBC Academic Team Honors, played every match in the National tournament for the first time and helped Armstrong win its third-straight National Championship.
Now, she’s not only the token American on this year’s roster, she’s the only remaining player from the 2010 National Championship team. Ready or not, she’ll be expected to carry that experience with her and assume a leadership role in her final season as a Pirate.
Despite being in unfamiliar territory, Henry is ready to accept the challenge. The lack of confidence she brought with her to campus four years ago has subsided. She’s grown athletically and academically. She plans to attend graduate school in California, pursue a career in International business, and travel the world.
Perhaps that’s what happens when you play on a team where no two women come from the same country. You realize how easily communication barriers can be broken down. You develop a curiosity for new cultures. You learn that family knows no boundaries. But most importantly, you reclaim a confidence that was there all along.
“My coaches and teammates helped me grow as a person and my professors helped me grow as a student,” said Henry. “I don’t think I’d be as confident as I am in myself and my future if it weren’t for my experience at Armstrong.”