Carson leads the Lady Panthers into the playoffs
When they step on the court, some athletes become a different person than who they usually are. Then there are others that their time on the court is an extension of their personality; for VAHS Senior student-athlete Kate Carson, it is the latter. The high energy, excitable, and dynamic characteristics are what Kate brings life and to the Lady Panthers on the court. Head Coach Tyler Dyer said of his senior, “Kate has really grown into a leader for us this year. The way she plays with such energy and passion all the time is a credit to her as a person. Her improvement over the last four years has been incredible and she has had a great senior year.”
Carson is the speedy point guard for the Lady Panthers, which has helped her team return to the playoffs. The senior shared the joys of this season, one being getting extended time on the court, "Last year I barely played, and we lost most of our starters this year, so I wasn't expecting anything crazy." Going into the season with a new roster, moving up a classification, and not having made the playoffs in the 3A level, "no one expected much out of us, and last year we were 3A and did not even make it to playoffs."
It was an early-season game against 5A Prosper Rock Hill High School that stood out to Kate; the team knew that others were looking past the Lady Panthers, "However we went out there and not only shocked others, but we also shocked ourselves. We ended up beating them, and I have never felt more excited in my life. The whole team, still to this day, says that was the game that we realized we could do the unexpected this season."
The unexpected happened over the holidays when it defeated a team that many expected to fight for the district championship, the defending champs Aubrey. The Lady pulled out a win in the last seconds in that first meeting and then had a dominating win in the rematch. Those two wins were crucial in putting Carson and the Lady Panthers back into the state playoffs.
Kate is a three-sport athlete for the Lady Panthers, competing in Cross Country, Basketball, and Track and Field. She recognized the uniqueness and what makes basketball special to her, "I have consistently played basketball my whole life. Track and Field have always been my favorite individually, but I have always loved basketball because it is the only sport I get to have a team in."
As a team leader, she has led through experience, focusing on the value that each of her teammates brings to the whole. Carson shared her approach to leadership this season, "knew it was going to be a hard time making the team chemistry come together. My plan for this season was not to make it feel like there was never just one crucial player. I wanted everyone to feel like they were just as important as the next person. I genuinely believe that is one of the seasons we have made it so far. We need every single person to show out every game. If one person messes up, we all mess up. That mentality, to me, is the main reason our team is going to the playoffs."
Kate spoke of the support of her parents, Wade and Kim Carson, "My parents have always been very supportive for me. They are at every game I can think of, and they are always there for me when I feel as if I performed poorly. They always say I am my worst critic, sometimes I am too hard on myself, so it helps to have them there always to build me back up."
Being a three-sport athlete means no offseason for Kate. She spoke of the dedication it takes to be involved throughout the year in decision making, "Because I am a student-athlete, sometimes I can't do a lot of things I would instead do such as hanging out with friends on the weekends. Most of the time, my weekends are used for homework, and during the week, I have practice and games so that it can be a lot, but it all comes down to what is more important for me."
Carson is a member of the Nationally Honored VATV class that chronicles the student life on the VAHS Campus through videography. Carson plans to attend the University of Texas and major in Radio/Television/Film. It was not hard for Kate to think of the teacher who has made the most significant impact on her life, that being VAHS media teacher Mark Campbell, "He helped me find what I wanted for the rest of my life. He helped me find out that I had a deep passion for videography. Not to mention, he was the first teacher ever to make me feel like I was good at something. I'm a smart student, but I have never been the most intelligent student. Even though I do make all A's, I always felt still not enough. It wasn't until I found videography did I feel like I found myself."
Carson plans to take what she has learned in athletics with her into the next phase of life, "you may not be the best player, but you can be the best listener." She recognizes that "determination and hard work" proven through her sports career will be vital to her future success. Those who know Kate know that when you add those learned traits with her personal qualities that the sky is truly the limit.