Rachel Schenck excels on the mat, in the pool, and in the classroom


Senior Rachel Schenck is a student-athlete above most. Not only will she graduate with ten varsity letters amounting from swim, wrestling, and water polo, but she will also graduate with a cumulative GPA of around 4.5. Combining her intelligence with her elite athleticism, Rachel Schenck has left her mark on FHC.

Ever since she was little, Rachel has had a knack for being in the pool. Having swum competitively since she was four years old, her past four years on the varsity swim team were very accomplishing. Although Rachel loved the actual sport itself, she had a stronger love for the team and its welcoming environment. 

“I love the atmosphere and getting to know everyone from different grades who I normally wouldn’t get to know and who are all nice and athletic,” Rachel said. “They were all dedicated and kind of my type of people who enjoyed school and also enjoyed sports.”

Rachel was also very deserving of her captain position this past fall. Having been a mentor and a leader in seasons prior, coach Dennis Neat awarded her the highly sought-after co-captain position. When asked about her biggest accomplishment from the season, it wasn’t necessarily about her results or awards.

“It was nice how [Neat] let me become a captain because it gave me a chance to help the freshman and to set things up,” she said. “Just getting to know everyone was an accomplishment in itself.”

Being a swimmer, it was no surprise that Rachel picked up the sport of water polo in eighth grade. Rachel has played on the team the past three seasons, earning two varsity letters thus far, and she will continue to play this spring and gain her final letter. Although Rachel loves swimming, there are many other techniques and more socialization incorporated in water polo that help Rachel appreciate the sport.

“It incorporates so many different things because there’s throwing the ball, shooting, passing with other people, dribbling, and swimming, so it was more than just swimming,” explained Rachel on the differences between the two sports. “It was also a sport where you actually communicated with other people and were playing a game. It was a fun activity where you got to just joke around with people, and it was way more social than just swimming in the water because instead of just being underwater and swimming laps, you got to talk to others while you were passing or waiting in line to throw.”

With the addition of COVID-19 into our lives last year, spring sports seasons ended before they began, which was very hard on the team. Despite this setback, Rachel has a lot to look forward to in the upcoming season.

“There are a lot of new freshmen and sophomores and since we missed an entire season, it’s a lot more people that I haven’t known before that I now get to know and play with, ” Rachel added. “I think it’s going to be really, really fun because they’re really good. I think it’s going to be a really fun experience.”

As if playing two varsity sports on top of several AP classes wasn’t enough, Rachel decided to add wrestling to her agenda mid-way through her sophomore year.

“[Graduated FHC students] Jayla Williams and Megan Stockenauer brought it up in front of the entire swim team and kept trying to get people to join, and eventually I thought to myself, ‘Well I don’t have a winter sport, and it’s something new to try,’ and I just decided to join it. I came into it completely blind, and I thought it might be fun.”

Since then, Rachel has been a prominent member of the girls wrestling team. She has received a varsity letter every year she’s been on the team, and she’s received several awards throughout her time on the team. 

“I was the outstanding wrestler of the Kent County Classics. It was my first tournament, and I won it and was so thrilled because as a first year wrestler who had never done it before, I didn’t think that I could,” she recalled, “and then to see that I could do it, it was fantastic.”

Placing second in her weight class at the state meet two weekends ago made Rachel a three-time All-State wrestler. When asked why she loves the sport and why others should join, she had one name in particular to thank.

“First off, an amazing coach [in] Brad Anderson. He’s very enthusiastic and very passionate about the sport, so he brings an enthusiasm that just really motivates you and convinces you to try harder,” Rachel said. “He teaches you how to be determined and persistent in and out of the wrestling room. His mottos show you that you can win and actually succeed if you just try.”

Rachel’s feats don’t just stop at her athletic accomplishments. By the end of this year, she will have taken 14 AP classes to add to her extensive GPA.

“I don’t think that my main goal at first was to get good grades, it was more just to learn it. When you actually read the material and learn it, then you can just do well on tests and other things because you know the material,” she explained. “I think it’s important for colleges and for the knowledge itself because it teaches you what you could be and gives you information that might not seem relevant now but could have a significant impact later, and if you don’t learn it now, when are you going to learn it?”

Although she definitely could, Rachel doesn’t want to continue her athletic career at the varsity level in college, possibly partaking in club sports. She is still undecided about where she wants to go next year, but she has a few options. 

“I was accepted to Michigan State, Michigan, Purdue, and Georgie Tech, but I haven’t decided which college to go to yet,” Rachel said. “I would probably play club sports because while I am okay at some of the sports and pretty good at wrestling, I don’t think that it would give me as much enjoyment if it was as intense as it is at the college level. I’m probably going to do club swim and club water polo.”

Rachel Schenck has had a huge impact on FHC whether she was in the pool, on the mat, or in the classroom. Inspiring many other athletes and growing many sports programs, Rachel is a student-athlete to be remembered by most.