At 15, Cary girl is a national tennis star - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

At 15, Cary girl is a national tennis star

Posted: Updated:
CARY, N.C. -

The sound of a Kaitlyn McCarthy forehand seems to echo throughout the Cary Tennis Center, where the seeds of a champion are being planted.

"I picked up the raquet when I was 3 or 4," McCarthy said.

Still, it took Mother Nature's help to kickstart her quest.

"It was a rainy day and I was really bored, so I went into the closest and I saw this tennis racquet and I was like, 'Dad, what is this'? And he was like,  'It's a tennis racquet. I'll show you how to play.'"

Dad must have been some kind of teacher, because now, more than a decade later, McCarthy is the No. 1 ranked 16-and-under player in the nation.

Jake Lester, her coach for more than 5 years, said he could tell when she was 8 that there was something special about her.

"Her mental toughness, her forehand and just her overall thinking on the court," Lester said. "She's very aware of what's going on and what she needs to do to win the match."

Four months ago, McCarthy won a national championship in Mobile, Ala. Playing up in age group, she topped the defending champion, winning the 18-and-under title in three sets.

"It was amazing," McCarthy said. "It was the greatest feeling."

But with success comes sacrifice. McCarthy's grueling practice and tournament schedule makes home-schooling a necessity.

"It was a sacrifice, absolutely, but we think it's worth it," said her mother, Beverly Harris. "Kaitlyn however, loves school, so it was a tough decision for her, a tough decision for my husband because of the social aspects that she'd be missing."

Kaitlyn McCarthy said she misses birthday parties with friends and sleepovers and some of the normal rituals of high school life.

But she is not complaining. It's the path she has chosen and the direction she wants to go. The sophomore has her sights set on college, and then a professional career.

Her coach has a vision of where she could be one day – playing in Grand Slams and having a long pro career.

And to think that trek began with a bored child on a rainy day.

"When I started I didn't think I'd be as successful as I am today," she said.

Todd Gibson

Known as "Gibby" around the station, Todd excels at taking viewers beyond who won or who lost. He hosts "Friday Night Blitz," a showcase of varsity football action in our area. If you have a cool sports story, tell Gibby! More>>

  • Accident causing lane closures on Interstate 81-North

    Accident causing lane closures on Interstate 81 North

    Accident causing lane closures on Interstate 81 North

    Friday, July 25 2014 6:30 AM EDT2014-07-25 10:30:13 GMT
    BOTETOURT COUNTY (WSLS) -- All four lanes of I81 northbound are closed in Botetourt County this morning at mile marker 167.8 due to a vehicle accident.
    BOTETOURT COUNTY (WSLS) -- All four lanes of I81 northbound are closed in Botetourt County this morning at mile marker 167.8 due to a vehicle accident.
  • Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:26:58 GMT
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."

  • 10 Things to Know for Today

    10 Things to Know for Today

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:12 AM EDT2014-07-25 11:12:28 GMT
    By The Associated Press Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:
    By The Associated Press Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:58 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:58:35 GMT
    (WMC) - It was a story that made its rounds on social media. On a recent flight DeAngelo Williams, Mid-Southerner and running back for the Carolina Panthers, gave his first-class plane seat to a 77-year-old
    Family members are upset and hurt that their relative, James Wesley Bolden, is being called a liar and "a fake."
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
  • Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    Friday, July 25 2014 2:56 AM EDT2014-07-25 06:56:56 GMT
    The official Algerian news agency says an Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has disappeared from the radar.
    An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, the third major international aviation disaster in a week.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.