Fink changes her mind, sticks close to home
Friday, Dec. 13, 2013

Fink changes her mind, sticks close to home

Katie Fink - Katie Fink
Cornelius native and Community School of Davidson senior Sarah Fink prepares to sign her National Letter of Intent to play volleyball at Davidson College next season. The 6-foot-2 Fink led the Spartans to a 20-4 record and the Southern Piedmont 1A regular-season title this past season.
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Sometimes parents struggle with subtlety.

And sometimes they know you better than you know yourself.

Just over two weeks ago, Sarah Fink signed her national letter of intent to play volleyball at Davidson in 2014.

She grew up in Cornelius and attended the Community School of Davidson. Fink joined a highly-talented Wildcats recruiting class that includes: Grace Schlicht from Appleton, Wis., Xavier High; Katriana Romanelli from Las ruces, N.M., Mayfield High; and Kelly Friers from Mechanicsburg, Pa., Cumberland Valley High.

However, Davidson head coach Chris Willis – who began targeting the outside-hitter as a junior – had all but given up on landing the local Fink.

“I had it set in my mind that I was going to go far away and have a new life,” said Fink, who was named the Southern Piedmont 1A’s 2013 conference player of the year. “I’ve lived around here my entire life and thought that I wanted something completely different.”

For Christmas last year, Fink opened up a box containing a Davidson coffee mug from her mother.

“I immediately told her that she would have to return the mug because I wasn’t going there,” she said.

As Fink, who stands 6-foot-2, started taking her college visits, she realized she was comparing every school she visited to Davidson, and that none of them were stacking up.

“It’s such a community,” she said. “Honestly, the unofficial visit I took last year, the girls were so welcoming and wonderful and they treated me like they really cared.”

The Community School of Davidson has existed for four years and has had a varsity program the past two years, which was a concern to some coaches as the recruiting process began.

However, Fink led the Spartans to a 20-4 record (12-0 Southern Piedmont 1A) this season, wracking up 558 kills and 126 aces in just two official high school seasons.

“Sarah was one of our first volleyball players we had at the Community School of Davidson,” Spartans coach Mike Perkins said. “We started the program here with all freshman, and Sarah is the one senior that lasted all four years. She’s been a leader since day one.”

Despite the solid high school numbers, it was Fink’s play in AAU and club volleyball that really excited collegiate coaches.

The coach of one of Fink’s club teams was Emily Carrara, who is now one of Willis’ assistant coaches.

“Emily really liked Fink,” Willis said. “Her personality, work ethic, athleticism and size. They struck up a good relationship and it was Emily that convinced me that Sarah had a ton of potential.

“She has a lot of potential to tap. We think, down the road, that she could really explode. Coming from a smaller high school, she didn’t get all the high-level competition she’s going to be facing in the A-10, so I think there will be a little bit of catch-up time, but she’s played enough club ball that she will probably progress even faster than we’re thinking.”

Asked if the jump in level of competition was something that created any butterflies, Fink answered without hesitation.

“I’m not worried,” she said. “Club has prepared me for college and I’ve played in places like Chicago and Texas, where there’s some really good volleyball going on. I think high school is really just some extra reps, but with that said, coach Perkins also taught me a lot.”

The decision to stay close to home was one that has Fink’s friends and family excited.

“My parents were ecstatic,” Fink said. “They wanted it from day one. Hopefully, I’ll be able to bring some of my fans up the road with me.”

This is just a hunch, but there might be another mug under the tree this Christmas.

Record falls

Charles Rappe, a sophomore from Fort Collins, Colo., completed the 300-meter dash in 36.65 seconds during the Wildcats’ indoor track and field season-opening meet at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem.

Rappe’s time bested the previous school record of 36.93 seconds, set by Whit Morrow in 1968.

Seth Lakso is a freelance writer for Lake Norman News. Have a story idea for Seth? Email him at

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