Monday, 11 October 2021 16:34

Kirsten McDonald: The Official Richmond County Female Athlete of the Week

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Senior tennis player Kirsten McDonald has been named the Official Richmond County Female Athlete of the Week presented by HWY 55. Senior tennis player Kirsten McDonald has been named the Official Richmond County Female Athlete of the Week presented by HWY 55. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — Senior tennis player Kirsten McDonald has been named the Official Richmond County Female Athlete of the Week presented by HWY 55.

The Richmond Observer continues its spotlight on one male and one female student-athlete from Richmond Senior High School each week based on his and her respective performance to help their team.

One of four seniors on this year’s Lady Raider tennis team, McDonald has served as one of Richmond’s leaders. During Richmond’s final two regular-season matches, McDonald helped the Lady Raiders earn two more victories. This is McDonald’s first career recognition. 

Athletic Profile

Age: 17

Birthday: Fed. 18, 2004 

Year: Senior

Fall Sport: Tennis

Position: No. 4 Singles/No. 2 Doubles

Height & Weight: 5-3, 125 pounds

Experience: 2 years


In her second season with the team, McDonald has consistently played as the Lady Raiders’ No. 4 singles player and has been paired with junior Addison Massey in No. 2 doubles play.

Over the past two matches, McDonald has picked up two singles wins and one doubles victory. During senior night last week against rival Scotland High School, McDonald and Massey didn’t get a chance to play doubles due to rain.

In the first of two team wins to close the regular season, McDonald made quick work against Kayla Murphy of Lee County High School. In the No. 4 singles match, McDonald shut Murphy out with an 8-0 win.

Later in the match, McDonald and Massey teamed up to roll past Murphy and Peyton Kenoski 8-1 in the No. 2 doubles match for another victory.

Closing out her final regular-season match as a senior, McDonald took the first two sets against Samantha Collard of Scotland. She won by scores of 6-3 and 6-0.

Richmond will now prepare for the Sandhills Athletic Conference tournament on Tuesday, which will see McDonald and company play Hoke County High School.

Kirsten McDonald returns a shot during singles play earlier this season. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)


ROSports: Now that you’ve played tennis for two seasons, what do you think has made you successful on the court?

McDonald: “What’s helped me is that I’ve grown in everything in the sport. I started as a junior having never picked up a racquet, and I’ve had two great coaches who pushed and worked with me. I really think I’ve gotten better at serving and my backhand this year.

“Being out here with the girls and coaches, it’s always a great time together on the court.”

ROSports: Coach Jessica Covington considers you to be one of the team’s leaders. Explain how you’ve taken on that role and what it means to you.

McDonald: “It’s very important to me and I wish I’d have started playing earlier. I really try to motivate girls so they stick with the sport and grow the program in general.

“Some of the girls like the way I serve, so I’ve spent time teaching them that this year. We also do a lot of work on the ball machine, working on power and mechanics.”

ROSports: Tennis can be a very intense, individual sport. How do you combat that and stay focused while playing your opponents?

McDonald: “I take it point by point, not game by game. I always envision that the score is love-all so that in my head I’m able to come back no matter the situation.

“I never try to beat myself up over what the scorecard shows. And I’m competitive, which motivates me.”

ROSports: If you could choose a song that played every time you entered a room, which would you choose and why?

McDonald: “I actually have a personal anthem this season that Coach Covington gave to me. It’s “‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot,’ and I think about that every time I’m on the court.

“It’s in my head all the time. And it’s helped me because I started winning after she gave me the song as my own.”

ROSports: You want to attend N.C. State University. What do you hope to study and what about that interests you the most?

McDonald: “I plan on majoring in poultry science, or maybe animal science with an industry focus. I’ve grown up in agriculture and want to contribute to agriculture.

“That’s my passion and my goal. A lot of my extracurricular activities deal with agriculture, too. I found what I love and that’s what led me to want to go to N.C. State.”

The Richmond Observer will publish its Official Richmond County Male Athlete of the Week soon.

Kyle Pillar

Nine-time N.C. Press Association award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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Twitter: ROSports_