Kinnie tearing it up as a four-sport athlete

Yaneek Smith

Press Sports Editor

It’s almost unheard of for an athlete to play four sports in a season, but Cardinal Stritch kicker Kenzie Kinnie is very committed.
Kinnie, a junior, plays football, soccer, basketball and softball. Her dedication also shows in the classroom – she has a 4.57 GPA.
She also holds two records in soccer, where she is the goalkeeper, with saves in a season (400) and a career (535).
Kinnie talked about being convinced to play football by the school’s president, Bill Berry.
“I was at basketball practice over the summer, and Mr. Berry asked me to seriously consider joining the football team,” she said. “I texted my mom and dad and my soccer coach (Jeff Kesselring), and they said they were on board, and then I emailed (football) coach Al (Thompson).”
Kinnie is not only intelligent – things seem to come naturally to her.
“School’s always come really easy to me. I hear something once and memorize it. I’ve never really had to study much, so that’s not really difficult for me,” she said. “I’ve been managing it my whole life, playing three sports since kindergarten.”
Needless to say, it’s a challenge having two practices each day if there’s not a soccer match or a football game. “I have soccer practice right before football practice,” she said. “It’s about managing my time and energy, having enough for both practices, and taking care of my body so I don’t get hurt in the long run.”
Kinnie said there are differences between kicking a soccer ball and a football.
“As a goalie, it’s all about trying to get distance and accuracy. In soccer, you want to lean back so the ball gets higher and goes farther. You swing your hips because you approach it more from an angle. Kicking a football, you have to keep your head down.
“It’s like the opposite for each sport,” she said.
The Stritch girls soccer team lost its first match to Whitmer, and the football team is 1-1 following a loss to Colonel Crawford. It is the team’s first season back after not fielding a team last year.
Thompson talked about what Kinnie brings to the table.
“A lot of teams go for two because they can’t kick. We have the opportunity to kick and save people from going for two and saving guys from getting extra hits,” said Thompson. “We switched holders to Nathan Frontene, and Kenzie has hit every kick since. She’s been expanding her distance, and she can hit 20- and 30-yard field goals pretty consistently. If we get into a tight game, she can get us some points, which is huge.”
Thompson had high praise for his kicker.
“She excels in school and it kind of comes easy and natural to her. Not too many people can play as many sports as she plays and maintain her body. She knows when to tell us, hey, we need a second, or if she can’t practice or can’t go. We have that trust in our relationship to make sure she’s good for soccer. Some people get four varsity letters in a career, but she’s playing four sports in one year.
“We’re beyond proud of her and happy for her and waiting for what’s in store,” he said.


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