Potential and talent in any sport can be spotted at a very young age, but high school athletes who truly master their craft are few and far between.
Purbalite Female Athlete of the Year and junior tennis star Bethany Yauch is a the exception, having become one of the best tennis players in the state.
Yauch, who has been playing since she was 5, credits her early development to her grandfather, Tom Kirk.
“My grandfather taught me all of the best mechanics and how to hit my serve properly,” Yauch said. “He basically taught me everything I needed to know to play great tennis. I wouldn’t be the player I am today without him.”
Her achievements are even more impressive because Yauch missed out on her whole sophomore season due to being diagnosed with appendicitis.
“When I had my appendix removed it was kind of like a blessing in disguise, because I was having shoulder problems at the time as well, so it gave it a chance to rest,” Yauch said. “It was hard to come back because I was off for about six weeks, but not being able to play my sophomore season really motivated me to do the best I could for the next season.”
Yauch takes her athletic career seriously, spending an extraordinary amount of time to train beyond her Baldwin practices.
“Like everything else you do, you have to put the time in,” Yauch said. “I leave school early so I can play tennis and sometimes I play twice day. I usually get in three to four hours that day. I play at Upper St. Clair Tennis Development Program.”
Yauch credits her coaches for helping her reach her full potential.
“My private coaches are Jan Irwin and Dave Hayden,” Yauch said. “They work really well together as a team and they both make me the best tennis player I possibly can be. It’s really nice having private coaches.”
She enjoys spending so much time on the court and appreciates the grind to success.
“I play about five or six days a week, plus once or twice a week I will go to Strength, Fitness, and Speed to train,” Yauch said. “I’m extremely grateful to have such an opportunity to train as much as I do.”
Yauch continues to work even when she feels fatigued so she can push herself for tough matches.
“Training can get rough, but I enjoy working out and pushing myself to the fullest,” Yauch said. “I love giving 200 percent each time I play even though it can get tough and tiring. I love the feeling of knowing I am working hard. I’d say I hit about 100-150 serves a day roughly.”
Her hard work and drive to be the best have been noticed by her teammates.
“I say Beth is very important to the team because she is so humble,” sophomore Emma Sukal said. “We can always count on her to get through the season as she always plays very well at every game.”
Senior Jenna Tarson is impressed as well.
“She’s the most determined and hardest-working person I know,” Tarson said. “When she’s not on the court, she really wants to be. She has a true love and passion for tennis.”
Yauch is looking forward to her senior season.
“There are lots of girls from other schools coming back that I am friends with. My goal is to win WPIALs,” Yauch said.
Yauch has accepted a full ride to Cleveland State to continue her athletic and academic career.
“It makes me really proud of who I am and how hard I worked to get here,” Yauch said.