[Mark Busch - firstname.lastname@example.org]
The state title run capped a career with the Spartans that included seven varsity seasons – two each for basketball and volleyball, three for softball.
She's set to continue her volleyball and softball careers at Rock Valley College next year.
For all her accomplishments in the other sports – she was an outside hitter on the volleyball team and played forward on the basketball team – she said one memory will stand out more than anything else.
"It definitely takes the light from the rest of the year," Reynolds said. "Obviously there was the basketball and volleyball, which was great and I made a lot of friends and we had great competitiveness, great games. But looking back (the state championship) will be the first thing I think of. Winning the state championship was great."
Reynolds was a Daily Chronicle all-area softball team honoree all three years she was on the varsity squad. After a 3.72 ERA as a sophomore, she finished 17-4 as a senior with an ERA under 1.70.
She bounced back from a rough outing in the semifinal – seven earned runs in 2 2/3 innings against Mt. Zion in a game the Spartans came back from seven runs down to win – to shutting out St. Francis in the title game. She gave up a two-out single in the seventh to lose the no-hitter.
"She's played ball with these girls for a very long time, some since they were 10 years old," softball coach Jill Carpenter said. "Knowing this was the time that group would be together, there's not much more special than that. Although I would argue that this year the girls really enjoyed playing together and we accomplished a lot of things as a team, so even if we hadn't won it still would have been a good way to go out. We achieved a lot of things and they achieved a lot of things as a group."
Carpenter said the fact Reynolds did so well in the three sports was a testament to her work ethic and dedication.
"You don't see kids like Faith," Carpenter said. "We did have a bunch who did two but to find someone excel in three sports, she was a starter on multiple varsity sports for two years. And she'd find time to work on her craft when her sports is not in season. And she's a pitcher. You're talking about tons of extra hours playing that position compared to an infielder or an outfielder. The pitching staff and the catchers have to put in more hours. So for her to excel at that and two other sports is pretty amazing."
Reynolds said that in playing volleyball, she got to make some friends she wouldn't have otherwise.
She also said the nature of the game toughened her up, mentally.
"Really volleyball is something that's so great because you need to have to be in shape to perform and go into a long rally," Reynolds said. "And on every point someone makes a mistake, really. So overcoming mistakes and getting back into trying to make the next play, that mindset has really come from volleyball and has helped me with all the other sports I play."
With basketball, she said she thought about quitting – multiple times. But with motivation from parents, teammates and coaches, she stayed with it.
"I initially didn't want to play four years," Reynolds said. "I was going to quit, not even play in high school. People were pushing me on along the way, and I was grateful they did so and I was able to stick with it. At the end, even in my junior year, I was loving it. I looked forward to going to practice and working hard. It was a lot of fun."
Reynolds said she lacked confidence early on, and got it from her coaches motivating her to stay.
Basketball coach Adam Wickness said at the end of her sophomore year, he approached Reynolds about dressing for the playoffs on the varsity roster after a year on the sophomore squad.
"I talked to her, 'Hey, Frannie, I would really like you to dress with us. I think it would be a good experience for you to see some varsity level games," Wickness said. "'I don't think you understand how good you can be. She said, 'You really think that?' I then chalked through all the things I like about her game. I told her she didn't play gas down, she played hesitantly her freshman and sophomore years."
During the postseason, he put Reynolds on the scout team as the other team's most athletic player.
"You could see that confidence grow," Wickness said. "It was like, 'Ooh, I can do this.'"
That summer he said he saw a change. When Maria Wright got hurt and missed the following year, she took over the starting forward spot and never gave it back.
He said he understood that basketball was Reynolds' third sport, but the work she put in on it the past two years shows the type of person she is.
"She's a tremendous kid any coach would love having on the team," Wickness said. "Even if she wasn't feeling well, even if she was having a bad day, she always brought a great attitude, always brought a smile."
On a recruiting trip to Rockford for a college visit, Rock Valley softball coach Darin Monroe gave her the chance to speak with volleyball coach Kristy Pierce.
"He was like 'I hear you play multiple sports. Would you like to talk to some of the head coaches while you're here?' Reynolds said. "I said if they're here, why not. I talked to Kristy, and she came out to a game and it went from there. It was an interesting thing I never thought would happen, but here we are."