A few days after this interview, Karlee Martini, the Knights' senior pitcher and captain, learned she had a blood clot in her right arm, which prematurely ended her season. Despite the setback, it's safe to say Martini got plenty of mileage out of her high school career. In her four years on varsity, Martini played every position for the Knights aside from first base and catcher. This year, she welcomed the responsibility of being the Knights' No. 1 pitcher while taking on the leadership role that comes with playing on a young team that has only four starters.
Along with softball, Martini is a cheerleader, plays the flute and bells in the marching band and is a member of Student Government Association. Maintaining a 4.33 grade point average, she plans to attend Salisbury University to study early childhood education and continue her softball career. Martini, who completed an internship helping her second-grade teacher in the classroom, wants to become an elementary school teacher.
How is the team coming together so far this season?
We have a very young team, but I think young is good. We're strong and we're bonding well. There's no drama, we're always together. I really feel like this is the strongest team we've had. Last year was a good team, but I don't feel we bonded as much. This year, if somebody's upset about something, we know it, and we're there to support each other. So I think we can go far.
What's it like helping lead such a young team?
Being a senior, I knew I was going to take on the role of being a leader on the team. I run warm-ups, I help the girls if they have a question. They know they can always come to me if they need anything. I'm always here for them. Being a senior, I was excited to know that I was going to be one of the top dogs, it's my time. It's a lot of fun.
What are some of the advantages of playing so many positions in softball?
It definitely gives me more opportunities. Being able to play each position that I can, I know coaches will look at me more as being someone they can count on. In college, they'll put you wherever they need you and where they feel it's best. I feel like I'm a good player for that because I can go wherever they need me.
How did you get interested in early childhood education?
My sophomore year, I started in a child development program and I knew then that I loved teaching. When I was younger, I would always play school with my sisters. We even had our own overhead at home, so we would practice our teaching skills. I have so much respect for all teachers who work with younger kids.
How beneficial was your internship?
I got to play the role of the teacher in a real classroom. I had 22 students, and I did math with them, reading, I would have them sit through circle time. It definitely helped me with my decision as to what I wanted to do when I go to college. It opens up your heart. It's just so amazing to see these kids every day, and they look for you to come and help them.
What's it like being in the final days of high school?
When graduation comes, I don't know what I'm going to do. I've been with the same group of people since I was in elementary school. I know that you're supposed to move on and meet new friends, but it's going to be hard for me. It's very exciting, too, and my best friend since elementary school is going to be my roommate in college, so we'll go through it together.
What have you enjoyed most about your high school days at North County?
I think the best part of high school is when you get involved with a sport or a club. Freshman year, I was involved in softball, cheerleading, the band, student government - everything you can think of. When you're a freshman, I think it's good to join as many clubs or play as many sports as you can. You learn communication skills, responsibilities, scheduling time for when you can do your homework and go to practice, go to the clubs. There's so many good experiences you can get from those things.