“After visiting other schools, Lee stood out as the place for me to be,” said Kelsey before the ink on her scholarship papers had even dried. “I love the atmosphere at Lee and have been impressed with both the faculty and students I have met. I am excited about my future at Lee because it suits me perfectly.”
There was another reason she selected the Lady Flames. Her mother (Rachel) and father (Jeff) are Cleveland natives. Her grandfather (Charles Tollett) was a well-known educator at Cleveland State Community College. Her grandmother (Jean Ann) still lives here. “I was born in Cleveland but have moved several times and now live in Hendersonville, so I really consider Cleveland my hometown,” said Kelsey.
A multiple athlete at Beech Senior High School, Kelsey plays both tennis and basketball for coach Dennis Walker. “He is a great man who is full of insight and who really cares about his players,” the new Lee signee said. “He encouraged me to develop my game both mentally and physically. My mom has been the one who taught me from the beginning and has coached me my whole life. She has helped me grow to be the player I am today.”
Kelsey heads into her final high school tennis season as her team’s top point producer. “My team has been district champion and played for the region championship last year,” she noted. “I have competed in both region and district tournaments on both the individual and team levels, and was named to the All-District team.”
Her honors do not stop on the playing court. “I am very involved in many clubs and extracurricular activities while maintaining my focus on academics,” she pointed out. “I am graduating with highest honors. I hold leadership offices in several clubs, including Beta, Student Council and FCA. I am a member of the National Honor Society and plan on majoring in health sciences or sports medicine at Lee.”
Kelsey says God has blessed her with two athletic and godly parents. “They have both taken part in my athletic life; both were college athletes and have always pushed me to do my best and be all that I can be.”
At Beech, she has played varsity volleyball, tennis, basketball and ran cross country for one year. “All of the coaches helped me by teaching me that I have to work hard to get better and that athletic excellence is something to work hard for.”
Coach Cavett is impressed with her positive attitude. “I am really looking forward to Kelsey being a part of our team next year,” he said. “She has been dividing her time between basketball and tennis for the past few years and I will be very interested to see how her game develops as she devotes her efforts to tennis full time. I think she will be a great fit for our program.”
Kelsey wasted no time in expressing her feelings for the college sport she has selected. “I love tennis and have a desire to continue to improve my game,” she added. “Tennis is my favorite sport and I look forward to concentrating my time and energy on it. I feel like my love for tennis and desire to improve are some of my strengths.
“I’ve learned that many players become burned out on their sport by the time they get to college. I am actually more motivated than ever before and believe that will be a big plus in my years at Lee. I can’t wait to become part of the team and grow as a player and a person.”
In the meantime, Kelsey will be seeking to improve certain areas of her game. “I look toward improving my shot selections, to hit harder, refine my serve and see what other ideas coach Cavett will have for me,” she said.
Lovingood brings her own type of goals to the Lee women’s program. “My goal is to be the best player I can be and to lead by living a life that makes a difference in the world and glorifies God,” she said.