Rachel Van Gundy is a leader. The Highlands Ranch senior is involved in two student government clubs and is a member of the honor society. She is also one of the captains on the softball team, which …
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Rachel Van Gundy is a leader.
The Highlands Ranch senior is involved in two student government clubs and is a member of the honor society.
She is also one of the captains on the softball team, which has really tested her leadership abilities.
The Falcons have their fourth coach in four seasons. Former Rock Canyon coach Debbie Kortbawi was hired to be a dean at Highlands Ranch but was asked to take over the struggling softball program. Highlands Ranch has a 28.7 winning percentage over the past six seasons and is coming off a 3-15 campaign in 2017.
“Being in student government taught me great leadership skills to help me connect with all the girls and know how to lead everyone differently,” said Van Gundy, who plays first base. “It's a challenge to be the captain but there is a great group of girls that have made it real easy.
“Over the last few years it's been a struggle but my fellow captains and I have grown and got stronger for it and this year will be one of the best because of how solid the girls are. We get really excited about our wins and use that momentum. We're a good team but we are going to get some losses. We've got to keep the girls excited, positive and keep them excited for that next game.”
Van Gundy is playing her fourth season of softball. As a freshman and sophomore, she ran track in the spring but last year she switched to tennis and the right-hander plays left-handed on the tennis court.
The coach's take
“She's a great leader. She leads in everything she does. She's pretty organized and a 4.0 (grade-point average) type of kid."
— Highlands Ranch softball coach Debbie Kortbawi
She has hit .340, .397 and .410 the previous three seasons.
Q&A with Van Gundy
What music do you listen to before a game?
This may sound weird but I listen to One Direction because it reminds me of my childhood when I was less worried about everything else and it calms me down.
What or who motivates you most to excel in sports?
My mom (Amy) and dad (Joe) are the most supportive people in the whole world and my best friend (Taryn Dragseth) and I are really great partners on and off the field and she just keeps me going.
What is your favorite class in school and why?
I love science, and I'm taking human anatomy this year and I'm so excited. I want to be a doctor.
What do you like to do away from sports and school?
I love hiking and going up to the mountains. I love skiing during the winter and my friends and I always go hammocking. So we go find some trees and set up our hammocks. It's nice and relaxing.
What are your plans for after high school?
I plan to go to a college out of state. I've grown up with the notion that people should be able to experience other states from where they grew up and I just want to see what it's like living somewhere else. Then after college, med school, I hope.
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