For as long as she can remember, Buckingham County senior Abby Freed has had a tennis racket in her hand. Her mother played in high school and passed the love of the game onto her daughter.
Now a senior on the Lady Knights' tennis team, Abby is the No.1 singles player and part of the No. 1 doubles team at Buckingham.
Playing at the No. 1 spot can be a burden of expectations and responsibility, but Freed thrives on the challenge.
"Putting more pressure on you, it makes you a better person both on the court and off the court so I like it a lot," Freed explained.
"She definitely raises the bar for the other girls and sets the standard for how hard we play," Buckingham girls coach Erin Lake added.
Lake says Freed's contributions to the team go beyond her performance on the court, as the senior provides leadership to her younger teammates, even when she's not doing as well herself.
"She's taken responsibility for things when things don't go quite her way," Lake said. "She'll take responsibility, which speaks a lot about her character."
Freed also runs cross country for the Knights, qualifying for the Regional meet last fall. She's hoping she can do the same this spring with tennis.
"It would just be amazing because that's been my goal since the beginning, since ninth grade, to make it to Regionals," Freed explained. "It would be an amazing experience."
While she was excelling with the cross country team, Freed still managed to find time to keep her tennis game sharp, something that impressed her coach.
"We have open court, we have just practice sessions in the fall and offseason, and Abby was busy with cross country but she would make it here whenever she could," Lake explained. "She balances her time well. She's very responsible."
In addition to her cross country and tennis responsibilities, Freed also keeps herself busy at school. She's involved in numerous clubs and activities at Buckingham and is the Salutatorian of the Class of 2014 at the school.
The James Madison University-bound Freed is also prominent in the community, volunteering what little free time she has to helping her church at a local soup kitchen.
All those extra-curricular activities could be stress-inducing for most students, but Freed says she values both sports and her schoolwork, and somehow finds a way to make it all work.
"You know it's hard to balance some stuff, some things have been challenging. I've had to prioritize my time a lot but it hasn't been too difficult," she explained. "I like doing sports and school. Sports help me clear my mind so it hasn't been too challenging I don't think."