- Family Features
- Business Directory
- Gallery Of Homes
- Subscribe Now!
- Place A Classified Ad
- New! Digital e-Edition
Saturday Morning Quarterback
Oct 21, 2012 12:00 am
Tiki joins Wilson County elite
A few years ago Randy Sallis pointed out something to me about a sports page layout I did which had recently appeared in The Democrat, possibly that day.
The page had photos of Clay Hannah, Alysha Clark and Jasmine Hassell. The pics were unrelated to each other in the context in which they appeared, but Sallis noted what they had in common.
All three are arguably the best their high school had ever produced in their particular sport - Hannah for Lebanon cross country/long distance running, Clark for Mt. Juliet girls' basketball and Hassell for Wilson Central girls' hoops.
A new picture is ready to join them - one featuring Friendship Christian volleyball star Kaitlyn Teeter. When my wife was coaching the Lady Commanders a few years ago, I heard her tell Kaitlyn's mother, Deanna, that her daughter, then a middle-schooler, was a special player.
Truer words have never been spoken when it comes to sports.
Tiki [her nickname given to her a decade ago by FCS basketball players Caitlin Zimmerman and Mallory Cook for reasons unknown to her mom - "Funny how it stuck", Deanna said.] began dominating the court not long after stepping onto the hardwood as a freshman. By the time Randy Alley arrived last year, she was the most heavily recruited volleyball player I had ever known about on a first-hand basis. The stories of her recruitment brought to mind that of Friendship quarterback Lee Sweeney in the middle of the last decade. If Beech superback Jalen Hurd is the darling of the BCS football world, Kaitlyn Teeter was the outside hitter major colleges wanted on their campus.
When she jumps with her hand raised much higher than her 6-2 frame and the volleyball in her sights, you almost feel for the opposing team. The cannon is headed its way.
But she's not just a spiking machine. Teeter is a complete player. She knows when to dunk and when to dink. When to go power and when to go finesse. She dives for digs and bounces up for blocks. She's an ace when she serves. Don't know about her setting since most of the sets go to her or Ali Burroughs or Alex Sealy.
She comes by her talent honestly. Her grandmother, Ann Maynard, was a senior forward on Campbell Brandon's first Lebanon basketball team in 1964-65. Deanna became the legendary coach's first second-generation player in 1982-85 before going through the recruiting wars [albeit on a much less intense scale than what her daughter would encounter a generation later] herself and playing for Belmont, where she met her husband, Eric.
Her older brothers starred in football and basketball for Friendship. Parker, after sitting out a couple of years, has walked onto the football team at Tennessee Tech as a tight end and special teamer.
Kaitlyn can play hoops, too. She's always played post, but can handle the ball and shoot from outside. But volleyball became her passion, signing up with the competitive club circuit even while basketball season is in progress. At her parents' insistence, she sat out most of last basketball season at the height of volleyball recruiting until Deanna, Friendship's basketball coach, let her come back because of a rash of injuries.
After a sometimes miserable experience with the recruiting process, Tiki chose Lipscomb, not a BCS-conference school but an Atlantic Sun power. It wasn't lost that Kaitlyn is going to the arch-river school of her parents' alma mater. Lipscomb's colors even match those of a Friendship rival - Trousdale County. Come to think about it, so does Parker's Tennessee Tech colors.
As soon as she made her decision, the weight came off her shoulders and she returned to her bubbly self we had known for years. She told me her parents said they supported her decision, "but I think it bugs them a little bit." That is vintage Kaitlyn.
Barring a couple of upsets next week in Murfreesboro, Friendship will complete one of the most remarkable two-year runs in any sport in Wilson County history as the Lady Commanders try to join Mt. Juliet's 2002 and '03 girls' bowling teams as back-to-back state champions.
Soon she'll play her final basketball season for her mom, then trade her green and white for purple and gold, "even though it's not one of our favorites, either in high school or college," Deanna said last March.
Meanwhile, I better choose a photo to join the others.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at email@example.com