Five-Star Athelete: High School Sports Star Prepares to Graduate

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Five-Star Athelete: High School Sports Star Prepares to Graduate

Kate goes up for a shot on goal in a game at the Cumming Aquatic Center.

Kate goes up for a shot on goal in a game at the Cumming Aquatic Center.

Kate goes up for a shot on goal in a game at the Cumming Aquatic Center.

Kate goes up for a shot on goal in a game at the Cumming Aquatic Center.

The Southerner

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Kate goes up for a shot on goal in a game at the Cumming Aquatic Center.

Kate goes up for a shot on goal in a game at the Cumming Aquatic Center.

BY IKE HAMMOND

Kate de Give slowly entered the Mountainview Aquatic Center which was filled to the brim with high schoolers preparing for the first water polo match of the season. She pushed past the groups of boys and made her way over to where the Grady team was standing.

Standing behind the ranks of scantily clad athletes, she was immediately greeted with enthusiasm as many of the players turned their heads excitedly.

“Are you here to play? Do you have a suit, do you have a suit?” asked the team members.

“Oh no, I’m just here for Southerner,” de Give said.

“I have a suit,” senior Julia Rapoport said.

Kate went to change and before she knew it she was warming up before the game with the rest of the team.

The team tried their best to teach her the rules of the game as quickly as possible, but before long Kate found herself being called into the game.

“When I tried to swim with my mark, he grabbed me and pushed me back underwater. I was incensed. ‘Oh my gosh, how can he do that?’ I thought, but I had to stick with him.”

She only touched the ball once, but the thrill was enough for her to sign up for the team two days later, and as the saying goes, “the rest is history.”

This year Kate was the only female water polo player from Grady High School selected to play on the All Star team.

This story is an example of Kate’s determination and versatility. Kate has played five different sports in her lifetime, and has been juggling four this year alone.

“We run cross country, swim, and play ultimate together. We also both played soccer at AYSA,” junior Allison Rapoport said.

Despite her willingness to try new sports, Kate wasn’t always as motivated as she is now.

“My first sport was soccer. I actually didn’t want to play at all, and my dad had to drag me to practice everyday, like I would be crying,” de Give said. “I was a fat little kid and I didn’t like activity, but now I like it alot. I can’t go a day without exercising.”

“I remember [one day] where she walked off the field and wouldn’t come back. We had to work at helping her realize that she liked it,” Kate’s mother, Catherine Bonk, said.

Bonk is divorced, so she and Kate spend a lot of time alone together which means that they have become incredibly close.

“[My mom] is kind of like my sister. It’s a little weird. We know everything about each other, like, there’s nothing she doesn’t know about me,” de Give said.

Kate’s mom would agree.

“Kate and I are home by each other and a lot of the time I think we’re a lot like roommates. We have to discuss what TV show we’re gonna watch and it’s only the two of us so it’s negotiation like we’re peers. I think that makes us more different than mother and daughter.”

Kate is relaxed at home most of the time, but when she gets on a field it’s a completely different story.

“I think she’s more driven on a field or in the water. I see a side of her that I don’t see at home. I don’t feel that edge to her at home, but I see her in the water and I’m scared of her,” Bonk said.

Having this mentality when she plays sports gives her a competitive edge. She is always determined to push herself as hard as she can and encourages others to do the same.

“Kate is a very aggressive competitor. In cross country she was never the fastest person on the team, but she was always competitive with everyone else during the season. I mean, she was constantly pushing people and working as hard as she could,” cross country coach Jeff Cramer said.

This aggressiveness shows up in her willingness to play on any team. In water polo and ultimate frisbee she is one of the only girls who is able to play alongside the boys and still be competitive.

She often describes how the boys on the ultimate frisbee team treat her as “one of the guys,” referring to her affectionately as “Young Kate” and by huddling up with her in a minivan.

Earlier this year, Kate wrote an article for SkipShot, the nationally syndicated USA Water Polo Magazine, about being the only girl in a pool full of guys.

Having played sports all of her life, Kate has had her fair share of coaches, but she says that there are some coaches who have had a bigger impact than others.

“I think Mr. Cramer [had a big impact]. He taught me to just shut my mouth. One time he gave me the ‘open-minded’ award which means I don’t filter what comes through my mouth. From then on it made me really self-conscious. It was really mean, but it helped in the long run I think,” de Give said.

Kate and Cramer have spent a lot of time together over the years, from Physics class, to cross country, to sunday school. Another coach that stood out to Kate was Mr. Rives, her swimming coach in her senior year.

“Mr. Rives was also a great coach because he’s so fun to be around. He didn’t necessarily teach me much, but he provided a lot of great support and helped me achieve a lot of my goals,” de Give said.

Rives is known for being a bit of a jokester during class which is why students enjoy having him so much. Like Cramer, Rives was also a teacher of Kate’s during her time at Grady High School.

“[She was] always conscientious, always doing everything she could do to understand the material, and good about communicating with people and sharing her ideas. Just a very upbeat, pleasant person to have in class,” Cramer said.

Kate has worked hard all four years at Grady and currently ranks 10th in her class. That work has finally paid off; she plans to attend Georgia Institute of Technology next fall.

While Kate is beginning a new chapter in her life, she hasn’t given up on sports.

“I’ll play water polo and ultimate frisbee [at Georgia Tech],” she said. “This lady at an interview I was at said she was on the flag football team which also sounds fun. They have state championships and stuff.”

Kate was also accepted into the University of Georgia, which meant that she had a big decision to make. While others gave her advice, the decision ultimately came down to her.

“I wanted her to go where she wanted to go,” Bonk said. “I think both of us are more urban people and I just love the Tech campus so I think that best suits her and me.”

 

 

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