NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA. – Participating in athletics as a student-athlete at the collegiate level is equivalent to having a full-time job.
Rylee Power knows this better than most, being a dual-sport student-athlete who plays tennis and basketball for West Chester University at the Division II level.
This is no small task, especially for a freshman who recently graduated high school in 2015. However, college is a learning experience that allows individuals to grow and develop.
“I’ve learned that college is totally different than high school. There are no parents motivating you to do better. It takes a lot more self-motivation and time management skills that I have adapted to just over the past year.”
This is what Power’s schedule sounded like, while also carrying a full load of courses. She attended tennis in the fall, which ended on October 12th. The very next day was the official start for basketball practices on October 13th.
Basketball occurred all winter and carried over into spring break, due to competition in the NCAA tournament.
Afterward, the official start of spring tennis began. Do not forget the vast amount of practices in-between as well.
Commitment and time management were the two key concepts Power focused on when describing how she manages both sports on top of academics. This means dedicating herself to both sports and her studies, giving it her absolute all.
This concept goes for inside the classroom as well, keeping up her grade point average. Power is on track to graduate with a degree in Health and Physical Education.
This type of mentality leaves little free time for the Newtown Square native.
Power credits her three older brothers (Justin, Connor, & Corey) when she was younger for continuously playing sports outside. This is where her love for sports originated. That passion for sports is what continues to drives her, considering her allotment of free time is drastically smaller than the typical college student.
“It was a lot my first year to handle playing both. Some days going from one practice right to the next, but I was able to get my schedule straight throughout the year and it actually worked out pretty well.”
Power transitioned to the collegiate level nicely, finishing with an overall record of 17-6 in her freshman campaign. Her performance landed her on the All-PSAC East squad for both singles and doubles. The honor meant a great deal to the Power and will be extra motivation moving forward.
“Definitely makes me want to continue what I’m already doing and motivates me to get even better. It will be a goal that I will strive to reach for my next three years at West Chester.”
Additionally, Power’s contributions helped propel the Golden Rams to their second straight PSAC East title. Not a bad way to start out your career at West Chester.
Power reinforced the idea that it was a “total team effort from all eight girls on the team.”
With one season now under her belt, Power recognizes what she must do to improve her overall game.
The main emphasis will be the importance of “being the first side to get to the net and control the point.”
Another will be improving her doubles play, which she will be doing over the summer with her mother who also played collegiately at Penn State.
One of the few challenges Power had to overcome occurred when transitioning from the fall tennis season into basketball. The amount of time dedicated toward tennis made her miss a good portion of preseason. This is a essential time for basketball players, since this is when they truly get prepared for the regular season.
The adjustment period was tough for Power, but the coaching staff and her teammates helped eased her way through the process. She was not alone in the situation as other freshmen on the squad had to learn the ropes as well.
Power was redshirted for her freshman year of basketball, due to seven seniors on the roster. Two of which are now the all-time leading scorers (Brittany Sicinski and Dallas Ely) in women’s program history.
“It was a learning experience going from the top in Marple Newtown and then having to watch the games. Getting beat up in the practices with a much faster style of play than I was used to.”
Being able to learn from a group of upperclassmen was important, while also gaining encouragement from those seniors. The entire starting lineup graduated this past May, resulting in several spots being available. Therefore, she hopes to step up and take on a bigger responsibility next season.
A Marple Newtown alumnus, Power excelled during her time in high school.
Power’s resume included being on varsity for all four years of tennis, basketball, and softball during her time at Marple Newtown. In addition to athletics, Power received high remarks academically by being a member of the National Honor Society.
She recognized that playing three sports was not possible at the next level, but her favorite two of tennis and basketball could be feasible.
Power’s accomplishments certainly caught the attention of scouts around the area.
“Some people dream of becoming record holders and leading scorers, but when I started my career at Marple Newtown the thought never even came into my mind.”
Reaching a 1,000 points in her career was a big milestone in her mind. However, breaking the record was never really realistic until her senior season.
“As I became closer and closer to breaking it, it kind of became more surreal. Honestly, I kept thinking about it, but I would try not to and stay focused on my game.”
This was her most memorable moment while attending Marple Newtown, considering the magnitude of her achievement and that all her hard work paid off with the squad making the playoffs all four years.
Basketball was only one of the three sports that Power excelled in at Marple Newtown. In tennis, she received All-Delco honors twice as the number one singles player on the squad for three seasons.
Additionally, she was All-Central and All-Delco at shortstop for softball as well.
Power has a giant supporting cast when racking up all these awards and participating in multiple sports.
The biggest person in Power’s life is her mother, whether being a role model or coach.
“My mom is my biggest role model not only with what I do on the court, but also just encouraging me off the court to be the best person I can be.”
This kind of encouragement helps Power be the best person she can be on and off of the court.
Be sure to see Rylee Power in action on the tennis or basketball courts at West Chester University this fall.