Student Athlete of the Month: Senior Kjer is Whittell team captain for every sport
Kaitlyn Kjer has participated in three sports this school year at Whittell: volleyball, basketball and softball.
On every team, the senior was named captain. She tops the list for female athletes at the Zephyr Cove high school.
She has twice been nominated for the Tribune’s Student-Athlete of the Month award, once for basketball and once this past month for softball.
She didn’t win during the hoops season, but she has been named as the winner for March by playing softball, her favorite sport. Kjer is the first athlete from Whittell to receive the award. South Tahoe’s Hannah Lucas was the other female nominee.
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“I was surprised because South Tahoe seemed to win every time,” Kjer said. “I’m excited, but surprised. My mom had everybody she knows vote and my whole team voted.”
Kjer maybe shouldn’t have been surprised. She’s tearing the cover off the softball and reaches base more the 75 percent of the time she steps into the batter’s box.
She’s hitting .630 (17 for 27) from the lead off position with six doubles and a home run in 11 games. She has walked 10 times and has been hit by pitches on six other occasions.
Once on base, she’s looking to steal. She has 33 stolen bases and has yet to be caught.
And whether she’s hitting, on the bases or in the dugout, there is a lot of cheering that emanates from the Warriors bench. The girls have different cheers for every situation.
“It’s a really fun team sport,” Kjer said. “Our team is always cheering. The seniors just know them, we’ve been cheering since we started, and the younger girls just catch on. We have a lot of team dinners. We’re really close.”
The first team, All-Northern League player and team MVP from a year ago has had to pick up the slack in the circle for her team this season. She has played shortstop and second base “all her life” growing up, but has never been the ace of the staff. Kjer tossed about a dozen innings in her junior year and hardly toed the rubber her sophomore season as her older sister, Kelsey, was the workhorse.
In her last game, she tossed a complete game with 10 strikeouts as the Warriors notched their first victory of the season.
“Kaitlyn demonstrates what it means to be a Warrior in the classroom as well as on the field,” said Warriors head coach Lindsey Oexle. “Her dedication in the classroom has really shown through in her GPA. She has been a big part of the softball program her entire career but this year you can really see her step up at the plate and mound. She is a great leader to have on the team and we couldn’t be more proud.”
Kjer and her teammates have had to accomplish everything without a single practice this season on their home field due to winter arriving late. The Warriors play all their games over Kingsbury Grade at Lampe Park in Gardnerville, Nevada.
Kjer played all three sports all four years of high school and was even in band for a brief time. She carries an overall 3.6 grade point average, but has a 4.0 right now and is hoping to keep it there by dominating AP English.
During the summer, Kjer likes to water ski, camp and hike.
Kjer is headed in the fall to the University of Nevada, Reno to live in the dorms and study her general education. After her first year, she plans to move into an apartment with her sister, who also is attending the university.
She has loved attending Whittell, a tight-knit small school where everybody knows each other.
“It has its advantages and disadvantages, everybody knows everything about everybody,” Kjer said. “But we know each other really well. We know the teachers really well. Everyone can play sports and I get to graduate with the same people I went to preschool with.”
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