Sophomore Kelly Reinke first decided she was going to be a setter in the seventh grade. Seven years later, after an illustrious high school career that included all-conference first team and local all-area honors, and after a freshman season in which she averaged 4.29 assists per set, Reinke has become one of the youngest team captains in the volleyball team’s history.
Reinke, who grew up in Glen Ellyn Illinois, has been playing sports since she was very young.
“I played almost every sport in grade school,” she said.
Her love for sports met her knack for leadership in high school. She was the captain of the volleyball team her senior year, as well as the basketball team both junior and senior year.
When it was time to pick a college, though, Reinke visited Cornell and fell in love with the team.
“I thought it was a really good atmosphere,” Reinke said. “And the education is really good too.”
Throughout her freshman year, Reinke made an impact on the team early on. She split time with senior setter Jordan Reeder, playing in 25 matches and making her presence known on defense as well, recording 2.03 digs per set on the year. She also tallied double digit assists in 18 of the 25 matches she played in, including a career high 35 assists in a 3-2 win over Ivy foe Harvard.
Reinke also spent much of her time freshman year watching the seniors, learning what it was like to lead a team at the collegiate level. She credits the examples they set as one of the biggest reasons why she and her fellow captains were able to take on an important leadership role at such a young age.
“[They] set us up for being leaders on the team,” she said.
Reinke continues to find inspiration on and off the court from her parent’s hard work. Throughout her life she has admired the strong example they set for her.
“[They] came from small towns and didn’t have a ton to work with,” she said. “But they always stressed to try my best and do as well as I can.”
Although Reinke has already found success in her short career at Cornell, she has her sights set on a much bigger goal in her next two years with the team — an Ivy League championship.
According to Reinke, head coach Melissa Batie-Smoose — in her first year with the team — has put the team in the right direction so far. With four games left in the 2012 season, the Red has already surpassed its win total from last year.
Although Reinke acknowledged that this season is essentially a rebuilding year for the Red, she also lauded the team’s new coach for “turning the program around.”
Fortunately, Reinke has two more years at the helm of the team to work with Batie-Smoose to keep the Red fighting for its ultimate goal of an Ivy title.
“I think we’re on the right track,” she said “We just need to keep working hard.”
Original Author: Skyler Dale