Taylor Carpenter has continued to improve on the tennis court at a fast pace - even with her focus on the softball field.
In only her third season of competitive tennis, the junior has played her way into the No. 1 position in singles and doubles for Mount Pleasant's tennis team.
Carpenter has won six of her first 10 singles matches this season.
Last year, Carpenter and her doubles partner, Elizabeth Parker, qualified for the regional tournament, and the Tigers qualified for the dual-team state tournament for the first time in more than a decade.
A pitcher since she was 8 years old and a starter for Mount Pleasant's team since her freshman year, Carpenter's lifelong commitment to softball often takes precedent over tennis.
Still, her ability to be coached and her work ethic make the transition from one sport to the other easy, and Carpenter's emerging leadership on the tennis team has been irreplaceable.
Carpenter was drawn toward tennis partly because her brother, Aaron, was a Mount Pleasant tennis player in the late 1990s and "he said how much fun it was."
Carpenter's father had also encouraged her to pick up a fall sport to complement softball in the spring and basketball in the winter.
Familiar with Carpenter's athletic ability, tennis coach Lori Honeycutt also encouraged her to play the sport.
As the tennis season started her freshman year, Carpenter couldn't help but apply what she knew about swinging a softball bat to swinging a tennis racquet. It was not a good mix. Swinging for the fences can be a good thing in softball, but not inside a tennis court.
"Everything I hit went out, out, out of the fence," said Carpenter. "But (Honeycutt) adjusted my stroke and everything started staying in, in, in. It took about a half a year to adjust."
Carpenter began low in the rankings on Mount Pleasant's 22-player team. But by the end of the season, she was locked in at No. 7 in singles, one spot from the starting lineup.
Recording three shutouts, she was the Tigers softball team's No. 1 starting pitcher and helped her team win the conference tournament and reach the third round of the state tournament. She continued to play in AAU tournaments nearly up to the start of the tennis pre-season.
Carpenter opened the 2009 campaign by challenging up to the No. 4 spot in singles and played some matches at No. 3. Carpenter finished the year with an overall record of 12-2, including thrilling third set tiebreakers over players from Concord and Cox Mill,
In doubles, Carpenter and Parker finished second in the South Piedmont Conference before advancing to the regional tournament. The duo suffered a first-round loss to a Charlotte Catholic pair and finished the season at 12-4.
Carpenter didn't realize it at the time, but a slight pain in her left leg turned into a stress fracture. She missed almost the entire basketball season and half of the softball season last year.
In a summer of rehabilitation, Carpenter still managed to make it to some off-season tennis workouts and some private camps.
Prior to the season, Parker's family moved to Georgia and another top player still had not been released by her doctor to play because of an injury. That left the Tigers' No. 1 singles position open and Carpenter claimed it.
"I've asked a lot out of her," said Honeycutt. "She's really stepped it up."
Carpenter is 6-2 with new doubles partner Emily Walters. They are deciding whether they will try to qualify for the regional tournament as a doubles team or as individuals.
After two seasons on the JV team, Carpenter says she is giving up basketball. After missing much of last season, she's excited about playing the entire softball season.
But for now, her focus is still on tennis.