Monday, July 18, 2011 1:22am
Growing up just east of Pittsburgh in a tennis-addicted family, Joelle Kissell had plenty of chances to showcase her talents in tournaments and camps all over the country. But instead, the Latrobe, Pa. native decided she didn’t need to go far from home to prove herself.
"I would play with my family and practice a lot with my older sister all the time," Kissell said. "I didn’t do too much nationally, I just stuck with Middle States events and anything that was close."
It worked out well for Kissell, a rising sophomore at N.C. State who recently won the National Clay Court Championships/West Penn Amateur in Pittsburgh. A former WPIAL Class AAA Singles Champion, Kissell finished her freshman year at N.C. State with a winning record and is looking to accomplish major feats in the coming years. The opportunities she had locally as a kid and in high school, Kissell said, prepared her for the college game and beyond.
"I always believed in myself, but my time in high school really solidified it," Kissell said. "When the top schools started calling to recruit me, it was really exciting. I took visits to five different schools and am so happy with where I ended up. I’m hoping to use this as a springboard to turning pro after college."
Kissell’s talent and potential has been evident, as she’s seen success at every level so far in her tennis career. She began playing the game as soon as she learned to walk and spent as much time on the courts with her older sister (a former collegiate player, also) and mother (a tennis coach). She never lost her love for the game and doesn’t appear to be slowing down in her development.
"I’m looking forward to this year and seeing what happens after," she said. "It’s going to be a lot of fun."
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