Katie Kemp: captain on the court and the classroom

Robinson senior Katherine “Katie” Kemp captains two sports teams while balancing a successful academic career

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Photo Anna Woodward

Katherine “Katie” Kemp (’21) serving on her senior night against Middleton High School.

Amelia Foster, Print Managing Editor

Confident, but not arrogant. Determined, but knows when to be kind. Katherine Kemp (’21), known by everyone as Katie, sees an opportunity and makes it her own. In her last year at Robinson, Kemp is leading the varsity flag football and varsity volleyball teams as head captain and co-captain respectively, finishing up her IB diploma and becoming one of 15 National Merit Semifinalists for the school.

Kemp’s introduction to sports was at a young age with little league soccer, blossoming into something that would shape her life. Little league soccer turned into playing lacrosse as a club sport for six years, and then an interest in volleyball in seventh grade.

After juggling lacrosse, volleyball and flag football in her freshman year, Kemp ended the trial and error period and cut down her sports commitment to just volleyball and flag football. Currently, she serves as safety and wide receiver on the flag football team, and middle hitter on the volleyball team. Kemp first gained a captain position for flag football after her sophomore season when she was appointed as junior captain, which automatically becomes head captain in senior year, and she is one of three captains for the volleyball team.

“I was always really competitive like at recess,” Kemp said. “It kind of came naturally. I think my parents have definitely encouraged it a lot too, and my older sister loves sports so I kind of followed whatever she did because we’re really close.”

Kemp’s older sister, Emily Kemp, graduated from Robinson in the IB program as part of class of 2020, finishing up her reign as captain of three sports teams. Although it may seem as if Katie is just following in her sister’s footsteps in both academic and athletic strengths, the older Kemp cites her sister as being a role model and positive influence.

“We’ve always done similar things, but she’s not the type of person to follow blindly behind whatever I did,” Emily Kemp said. “I think it’s really inspiring to watch her tackle every challenge, both academic and athlete [sic], put in front of her the last four years, and I can’t wait to see what she does going forward.”

Kemp finds a balance in all areas of life, managing her time with a mixture of strict schedules and breathing room on off-days. When she’s in-season for sports, she starts her day at 7 a.m. with breakfast, spending the school day at brick-and-mortar school and attending practice for around two hours. If it’s game night, she’ll take a trip home to grab her gear before returning around 4 p.m. to prepare with the team. On off-days, she lets herself relax with family, all while finding time for homework. No matter what her day looked like, she’s in bed by midnight.

The effort it took to earn National Merit Semifinalist changed her schedule for only two months before Kemp took the PSAT. For a month, she took practice tests every single weekend to track her progress, as well as attending a math and English tutor for two months before the testing date. When homework allowed for it, she’d spend her time doing practice problems on Khan Academy.

“She has a drive to be successful in what she is doing and she wants other around her to also be successful but, more so, she wants to help them achieve that success,” Joshua Saunders, the head coach for the flag football team, said.

Kemp first started flag football the summer before her freshman year at her sister’s encouragement, and committed to joining the team after attending practices over summer and during the pre-season. Three years later, with Kemp as Head Captain, the flag football team is sponsored by Nike and has been number one in the state of Florida for the past four years. Although she doesn’t plan on continuing at a collegiate level, she expects to play club sports after she graduates.

“If I had never played sports I never would have grown into the leadership roles that I have or had opportunities to become a leader,” Kemp said. “I definitely think it has had a huge impact on my persona in high school and my high school experience.”

For all that Kemp has learned to be aggressive during the game, she takes the time to look out for those around her. She makes sure to give her best effort to each team, watching film and studying the opponents. Her sister emphasized the way people are drawn to her. Her coach commented on her steady relationship with her teammates both on and off the field.

“She has jumped on the role of being a role model for younger players and I’m not sure we could ask for a better one,” Saunders said. “The one thing that hasn’t changed is that smile and the encouragement she provides to teammates. It’s always there.”