Throughout her varsity career at Hendrick Hudson High School, Rachel Buckner has been an elite player in tennis and softball.
The senior amassed a lengthy resume in both sports, earning all-section and all-state honors. When the time came for Buckner to decide which sport to pursue in college, on the surface, it appeared to be a difficult choice. Not so, according to Buckner.
Buckner, who will graduate Sunday, opted for her first love, tennis. Buckner will attend Occidental College in Los Angeles in the fall and is planning to major in Psychology and play tennis. She gave considerable thought to playing both sports in college, however, tennis conflicts with softball during the spring season.
I love both sports because both sports have different things to offer, said Buckner, a six-year varsity tennis player and four-year varsity softball starter. Softball is a game I love to play, but tennis is a game I need to play. There are so many elements to tennis and to me its the ultimate challenge, especially when you are playing singles.
Buckner made her mark in tennis as a seventh-grader, making varsity and earning the No. 2 singles position. Beginning in ninth grade, Buckner moved into No. 1 singles and stayed there. She was a six-time all-Section pick and in her junior and senior years and all-state in doubles. Last November, Buckner and her partner Danielle Hardman lost their first-round match, then reeled off six consecutive wins to take the consolation bracket.
Buckner, who was the starting center fielder on Hen Huds Section 1 Class A-winning softball team in 2007, became one of the finest all-around players at her position. Buckner covered vast territory and possessed a strong arm. She was also a three-time all-Section selection.
Ironically, Occidental was the final college she visited. The campus appealed to her, as did her future teammates. Buckner said they were very welcoming, which gave her a good feeling.
I am excited for the opportunity to experience a new situation, meet new people and learn more about the field of psychology, said Buckner, who is planning to become a clinical therapist.