Athlete of the Week: Berkey brings soccer skill to tennis

Myrtle Beach High tennis standout Rachel Berkey finished her freshman season as the No. 12 ranked player on the team. She recently closed out her sophomore season as the Lady Seahawks No. 1 singles and doubles.

Her rapid ascent up the Lady Seahawks’ ladder saw her go 18-2 as Myrtle Beach’s No. 2 singles player all season. But on the bus ride to Hilton Head for the Lower State Final, she learned that regular No. 1 Jessie Dumas was sick and would be unable to play.

“I know if I could have put a heart meter on her she would have been scared, but she certainly didn’t show it,” said Myrtle Beach tennis coach Jeri Himmelsbach. “She said, ‘Yes ma’am, I’ll do whatever it takes to help the team.’ That’s the kind of kid she is. She cares about her teammates and they all admire her.”

Himmelsbach, who also coaches the JV soccer team, was familiar with Berkey’s athleticism and work ethic on the soccer pitch. The striker was already making a name for herself in soccer when she decided to give up basketball to focus on tennis, a sport she picked up at an early age from her family but didn’t take seriously until recently.

“I played tennis at the Dunes Club and for Will Bull at Prestwick, but I really wanted to play for the school team,” said Berkey, the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week. “I was No. 16 as an eight-grader and No. 12 as a freshman, then No. 2 this year. I just like playing tennis and I want to keep getting better.”

Himmelsbach wasn’t a bit surprised by Berkey’s quick success in tennis after seeing her make strides in soccer. Berkey was a big reason why Myrtle Beach won the Region 7-3A championship and advanced one step from the state finals.

“She is the total package,” Himmelsbach said. “She’s a great player, person and student. She is so fast and athletics and she has a sense of the game you can’t teach. She’s responsible, friendly and a good teammate. She will do anything I ask her to do.”

That includes a field promotion on the bus trip to Hilton Head, when Himmelsbach informed Berkey she would be going up against one of the top seniors in the state at No. 1 singles and playing No. 1 doubles with a new partner for the first time this year.

“We didn’t find out until we were on the way down, but it was OK,” Berkey said of the 5-1 loss in the Lower State Final. “I think it put a little more pressure on everybody because we all had to move up and face a tougher player, but it was a challenge and it was fun.”

It’s that competitive spirit that has Himmelsbach licking her chops at the thought of having Berkey back on the soccer pitch and tennis court for years to come.

“Rachel is a wonderful person to be around and she’s an inspiration to her teammates,” she said. “I’m blessed to have her in soccer and tennis. She has proved so much these past two years that I’m excited to see how much better she can get.”

Photo by Joel Beachum

Chants do it with defense for second straight week

Chants do it with defense for second straight weekNot even a 44-minute lightning delay midway through the third [more]

Week 3: MB, CF roll to set up battle of undefeateds

Week 3: MB, CF roll to set up battle of undefeatedsJon "JJ" Jones returned to his old stomping grounds at [more]

Wednesday's Roundup: SJ girls go low to beat Braves

Wednesday's Roundup: SJ girls go low to beat BravesSt. James traveled to Prestwick Country Club on Wednesday to [more]

MB transfer cleared just in time to face former school

MB transfer cleared just in time to face former schoolMyrtle Beach football player J.J. Jones has been cleared to [more]

Tuesday Roundup: Wins for CF golf, NMB volleyball

Tuesday Roundup: Wins for CF golf, NMB volleyballThe reigning Class 4A state champion North Myrtle Beach High [more]

Games go on after Dorian throws schedules for loop

Games go on after Dorian throws schedules for loopDespite Hurricane Dorian costing Horry County Schools a week of [more]

Chants capture historic victory over Jayhawks

Chants capture historic victory over JayhawksCoastal Carolina football recorded its first-ever win over a Power [more]

Who's No. 1? Two teams atop latest football polls

Who's No. 1? Two teams atop latest football polls Like it did after last year’s state championship games, Horry [more]

Hurricane Dorian calls halt to Strand sports schedule

Hurricane Dorian calls halt to Strand sports scheduleHurricane Dorian is not expected to make landfall on the [more]

Coast U-19 girls pass early test, take Atlanta Cup title

Coast U-19 girls pass early test, take Atlanta Cup titleCoach R.J. Bass wanted a strong early test for his [more]

Eastern Michigan spoils Coastal's season opener

Eastern Michigan spoils Coastal's season opener The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers opened their season the same way [more]

Week 1: Historic win for SJ; MB, CF roll in openers

Week 1: Historic win for SJ; MB, CF roll in openersTommy Norwood tried to nix the Gatorade bath. He raised [more]

Welch wins World Am in East/West Coast shootout

Welch wins World Am in East/West Coast shootoutWilliam Welch (West Islip, N.Y.) shot a net 69 (gross [more]

Golf: CF packs 1-2 punch; St. James claims tri-match

Golf: CF packs 1-2 punch; St. James claims tri-matchThe Carolina Forest girls golf team made a strong showing [more]

Chiefs reach Border Battle finale, swept by Warriors

Chiefs reach Border Battle finale, swept by WarriorsThe Palmetto State made a strong showing in the Border [more]

Perfect conditions greet thousands for World Am

Perfect conditions greet thousands for World AmBeautiful weather greeted the 3,215 golfers participating in the 36th [more]

Two Coast FA boys teams crowned Triangle champs

Two Coast FA boys teams crowned Triangle champsTwo Coast FA boys teams returned home as champions from [more]

Week 0: Chiefs top Tigers; Sharks beat Lions at horn

Week 0: Chiefs top Tigers; Sharks beat Lions at hornMatt Reel sighed more than once when talking about his [more]

Six former Pelicans make big-league leap to Cubs

Six former Pelicans make big-league leap to Cubs The distance from Myrtle Beach’s TicketReturn.com Stadium to Chicago’s Wrigley [more]

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bid

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bidThe only thing harder than winning a state championship is [more]

Stormy weather big winner at CNB Kickoff Classic

Stormy weather big winner at CNB Kickoff ClassicTwo blowouts, a lightning delay and ultimately three of the [more]

Coast FA boys kick off fall season with strong outing

Coast FA boys kick off fall season with strong outingFive Coast FA boys teams entered the Charlotte Invitational over [more]

Hemingway follows family, teammates to Gamecocks

Hemingway follows family, teammates to GamecocksSix minutes after his youngest child had announced his college [more]

MB Track & Field Club set for cross country season

MB Track & Field Club set for cross country seasonBuilding on the success of the track and field season, [more]

Seahawks, Trojans, Chiefs in preseason football poll

Seahawks, Trojans, Chiefs in preseason football pollDefending state champion Myrtle Beach opened the 2019 preseason as [more]

Chants do it with defense for second straight week

Chants do it with defense for second straight weekNot even a 44-minute lightning delay midway through the third [more]

Week 3: MB, CF roll to set up battle of undefeateds

Week 3: MB, CF roll to set up battle of undefeatedsJon "JJ" Jones returned to his old stomping grounds at [more]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2019 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach