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Rock Hills’ Lauren Whelchel – Athlete Spotlight Presented By OZ Insurance

By Chris Cox

Rock Hills senior Lauren Whelchel says she’s been playing basketball since she could walk but her interest in the sport really began to grow during junior high.

“I had a high school friend that really got me into the sport,” she says. “We would scrimmage after school and that really helped me open my eyes and love the game.”

While there are many aspects to basketball that Whelchel loves, she says it’s the competition that keeps her going.

“I’m from a family of four and with two younger brothers, there’s always competition,” she says with a chuckle. “I also love the family aspect. When you’re on a team, you are connected with your teammates. The love for the game is something I’ve always had, and I hope to continue playing at the collegiate level.”

Lauren credits her parents, Chris and Staci, with helping pursue her passion and building her work ethic. 

“They’ve always been super supportive,” she says. “They’ve always been there when I want to go outside and shoot. Even if it’s 15 degrees, they are always there to rebound for me. They are at every game supporting me and have been big role models for me. I’m from a farming family, so hard work has been embedded in me from a young age. I’ve also grown up in a Catholic household and that has made a huge impact in my life.”

Beyond her competitive nature, Whelchel says changing the narrative around Rock Hills. She says she and her teammates have embraced the underdog role and are ready to take that next step and put their league on notice this year.

“Last year, we were the second seed at sub-state,” she says. “My sophomore year, we finished with a winning record. That was incredible to have. We have some great girls this year and are looking forward to a great season with our new coach, Nick Mizner. We really want to add more banners in our gym. We want to leave an impact this year, especially the seniors.”

Outside of basketball, Lauren plays volleyball and runs track at Rock Hills. She is also vice president of FFA, a member of NHS, and Future Business Leaders of America. Following graduation, Lauren hopes to play college basketball while working toward, ultimately, getting a degree in the medical field.

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