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Kaylie Sippel pitches in for St. Francis

Kaylie Sippel ended up being wrong. And that’s a good thing.

Sippel, a three-sport athlete at Beecher, was a bit overwhelmed as a freshman when she started playing softball in college at St. Francis in Joliet.

“I thought there was no way I could do more than one college sport,” she said.

Wrong.

After attending some matches, Sippel said she missed playing volleyball. After her sophomore year, she joined that team as well.

The next two years through the beginning of her senior year, Sippel balanced two sports, studying and working to maintain a perfect 4.0 GPA while majoring in biology.

That’s a pretty big workload, but there’s more. A few months ago, basketball beckoned.

The Saints were down on numbers. Adam Schwarzentraub, an assistant, coached Sippel in high school and reached out to her to see if she was available to help out the women’s team.

So now, Sippel is a three-sport athlete again.

“I can’t say no to people,” Sippel said. “I have to be busy all the time. I don’t like free time, and I like all of my minutes accounted for.”

St. Francis’s Laurelei Thormeyer moves the ball against Roosevelt during a CCAC game in Joliet on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024. (Jeff Vorva / Daily Southtown)

Although she hasn’t been getting many minutes when it comes to playing time in basketball, her presence at practice has been a huge help for the Saints (8-16), who are battling injuries.

“We had some bodies out and fighting nagging injuries, so we were looking to see who could help us out,” St. Francis coach John McGinty said. “Adam suggested Kaylie, and she’s been great.

“It’s really nice of her to do this.”

Sippel is on a roster that also features former area standouts Hannah Cholke (St. Laurence), Le’lani Harris (Marist), Ryann Houbolt (St. Laurence), Mia Kennelly (Oak Lawn) and Laurelei Thormeyer (Providence).

Amanda Jensen, who coaches softball for the Saints, said she has worked things out with McGinty so both can benefit from Sippel’s talents.

St. Francis was ready to open the softball season Wednesday. Sippel, a left-handed outfielder/first baseman, has a .403 career average for the Saints with only nine strikeouts in 315 at-bats.

“Kaylie is just one of those kids who is good at everything she does,” Jensen said of Sippel. “She’s good at academics, athletics — everything she does, she does well.

“It’s so effortless. It comes natural to her.”

In three years of volleyball, Sippel has 2,022 assists and 291 kills as a setter/outside hitter.

Cara Currier, who coaches the Saints in volleyball, was a three-sport athlete at Augustana. She understands the demands on Sippel.

“There are times she’s going to two practices a day,” Currier said. “That can be tough, but she’s doing it well.”

Since adding a third sport, Sippel has had days where she spends two hours practicing softball at the Cadence Sports Center in Joliet, then races back to campus for two hours of basketball.

And she loves it.

“The girls are super supportive, so it makes it easy to go to two practices a day and see their faces,” Sippel said. “They are all so awesome and so nice. They are so fun to be around.”

St. Francis’ Kaylie Sippel smiles during pregame warmups against Roosevelt during a CCAC game in Joliet on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024. (Jeff Vorva /Daily Southtown)

A fifth-generation graduate of Beecher, whose father, Todd, also played baseball at St. Francis, Sippel has applied to medical school with her eye on becoming a doctor.

“I want to be in the ER, helping people at their worst times,” she said. “I knew I liked science, and I worked in a hospital setting and really liked the doctors I worked with.

“Just seeing how they interact with patients, I wanted to do that as well.”

She plans on coming back for a fifth year and will play volleyball in the fall.

As for basketball?

“If they need me again, I’m here,” she said.

Jeff Vorva is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.

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The post Kaylie Sippel pitches in for St. Francis appeared first on Breaking News in USA Today.

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