Wypych stays busy at Lees-McRae

Sep. 23, 2013 @ 10:14 AM

Kelsey Wypych is one busy college freshman.

The Lees-McRae student’s day begins at 5:30 a.m. for basketball workouts three days a week. She doesn’t get home until 10 p.m. some nights from play rehearsal. Somewhere, she fits in time for class, too.

“The time management up here is hard,” Wypych said. “It’s like a full day. It seems like the time just passes so fast and you’re onto the next day.”

The former Sevier County standout is in her first year at the North Carolina college, where she earned a scholarship for the two things she loves the most: playing ball and singing. The 5-foot-5 guard is a member of the women’s basketball team, which competes in the NCAA’s Division II, and she’s also learning tap and acting in a play as part of the performing arts program.

That ability to multi-task and work ethic is what Bobcats coach Michele Williams likes about Wypych. In her second year at the school, Williams believes Wypych has “tremendous upside.” When the coach was recruiting Wypych, she remembers hearing about the full plate Wypych maintained in high school. She seems even busier now.

“I think her work ethic allows her to make up for a lot,” Williams said. “Even on the basketball court she may not be the most talented, the biggest or the fastest but her all-out, get-it-done mentality, that allows her to be successful even more than some kid who has it all. I always had to work hard. I think that taught me a lot, too.”

That kind of hard worker is exactly what Williams looks for in a recruit. But Wypych had to be sold on Lees-McRae first. She said she was uncertain when she first looked at the tiny school — with about 850 students — in western North Carolina.

Wypych said she was worried there wouldn’t be much to do coming from a much larger area in Sevier County. But after visiting, she loved it even if it meant dealing with a little snow.

“In the next month we’ll probably already have 10 inches of snow,” she said. “I’m not used to snow that much. We’ll see how it goes. Walking to class isn’t going to be fun, I can tell you that.”

Wypych said she loves her school’s small-town feel. Everyone knows everyone else, and her new teammates have been welcoming.

She’s having fun off the court, too. While singing is Wypych’s passion, Lees-McRae requires a much broader array of skills in performing arts. Wypych said she’s enjoying it so far.

“You have to act, sing and dance,” she said. “It’s way different. It’s kind of hard. I’ve never learned tap dancing. It’s something really different. I think I’m going to really like it.”

Williams and the basketball team are going to attend the play to support their new teammate. In her first year at college, Wypych is already showing she’s more than just a basketball player.

“She’s stepping outside the box in that part,” Williams said. “We’re excited. ... She’s just a really neat kid. You don’t have a whole lot of basketball players that can do that as well.”