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Set to play, but looking forward to life ahead

South Boston News
Katlyn Shanklin / April 15, 2020
Bluestone senior Katlyn Shanklin has carved out a nice playing career for the Bluestone varsity softball and basketball teams.

A lifelong county resident and the daughter of Scott and Sheila Shanklin, Shanklin has received her share of honors as a pitcher and infielder.

“I was first-team All-District for pitching my junior and sophomore seasons and also second-team All-Region for Utility Player last year,” Shanklin said. Bluestone is a member of the James River District and VHSL Region 2A.

A multi-sports athlete, Shanklin played basketball in the ninth, 10th and 12th grades and volleyball and basketball at Bluestone Middle School. Like many athletes from rural areas, she said it was Dixie Youth sports that drew her to athletics.

“I started playing Clarksville Dixie t-ball when I was five years old,” Shanklin said. “I’ve enjoyed it ever since I started playing it.”

Like most high school student-athletes who want to attend college and play sports, Shanklin is a member of a travel team outside of school. She plays for the Halifax Heat and says that being a player on the Heat has improved her game and also exposure to colleges. “The more you play and practice can only make you better,” Shanklin said.

Though most athletes completely understand sports having to take a backseat to the COVID-19 pandemic, canceling spring sports impacted some athletes more than others. A fair number of senior athletes need their senior seasons to showcase their potential and possibly get an offer from a college or university. With spring sports seasons canceled, this opportunity won’t be available this year.

“This virus was definitely unfortunate,” Shanklin stated. “This worldwide health issue affected almost every aspect of people’s lives.”

The Bluestone girls had the opportunity to play two scrimmage games before their season was canceled. The team took a 3-0 loss at home to Kenston Forest but they would defeat cross-county rival Park View 11-7 just days later.

In the PV matchup, Shanklin got the win on the pitcher’s mound. She also scored two runs, one coming when she blasted a two run home run in the top of the first inning, in what would become her final high school game.

“The end of my high school career was very much dampened by the cancellation of school and athletics,” Shanklin explained. “I feel like this year would have been the high point of the years I’ve committed to practicing and playing the game of softball.

“If I have the opportunity to play, I will, but I am not committed to a team currently. I plan to still play with my travel team as time allows.”

The aspiring physical therapist enjoys “playing travel ball, hanging out with my friends, and going on the lake.” She remains committed to staying prepared should the opportunity arise to play a shortened high school season in the months ahead.

“I am still doing weekly pitching and hitting lessons just in case opportunities arise later this spring or summer,” Shanklin noted. “I’m still hopeful this may still happen.”

She plans to attend Radford University Carilion and major in physical therapy upon graduation.

“[I’m] helping my parents around the house, working on scholarships and pretty much just staying in the house,” Shanklin says of a normal day now.

Shanklin has appreciated her time growing up in Mecklenburg and as a student at Bluestone, but says she is ready to move forward and face new possibilities.

“Growing up in this area has provided me with many different opportunities to be involved in the community, my school, and local athletic programs,” Shanklin said. “These are memories that will last a lifetime but I’m looking forward to new challenges, meeting new people, and getting my degree in Physical Therapy.”

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