Women’s Tennis Player Gives Back to Community
The boxes continue to pile up at Hannah Ketcherside’s home in the Brookside area. Some are big, some are small, but all of them contain “white gold,” the young woman’s nickname for socks.
At this time of year, socks are valuable, and even more so to those who are homeless, to help them tolerate the elements and feel just a little more comfortable.
Ketcherside, a 2018 St. Mary’s High graduate, first organized a sock drive when she was 7 years old. Now 18, she continues to do so, balancing those duties as she studies accounting and plays for University of the Pacific women’s tennis team.
“I don’t think that there’s a major difference,” said Ketcherside about the sock drive, which is run out of St. Mary’s Dining Room. “Being on the school and team takes time, but I always have time to help others, and that’s important to me.”
Ketcherside has always been a focused, driven but also compassionate person, according to Pacific women’s tennis coach Mike Erwin, who also coached Ketcherside as a junior player.
“I’ve known Hannah since she began middle school,” Erwin said, “and my first year coaching her, I was aware of the sock drive, and I’d ask her questions, like how many thousands of socks that she’s collected.”
At last count, Ketcherside has collected more than 55,000 pairs of socks since she started 11 years ago, that number will go up after the 2,500 pairs collected this year are distributed in January to the men, women and children who frequent St. Mary’s Dining Hall.
She collects the socks year-round, sorts and prepares them for delivery.
“I try to do that in between studying and other things,” she said.
What is remarkable about Ketcherside, according to Erwin, is that she handles the sock drive virtually by herself.
“Hannah takes socks as her birthday present,” Erwin said of Ketcherside, who was born in December. “And then she does all the support letters by hand. … To her it’s a priority and she looks forward to it.”
Apart from the sock drive, Ketcherside has also been good at tennis, starting at the age of 5, and has played USTA NorCal junior tournaments numerous times. She was the top player for the St. Mary’s girls team for three consecutive years, and won the Tri-City Athletic League singles championship in her senior year. She was also The Record’s Girls Tennis Player of the Year and was an Athlete of the Week as a senior, and a finalist for the newspaper’s prestigious Charles Washington Award.
According to Ketcherside, she had always wanted to play tennis in college.
“I had that as an ultimate goal, to play college tennis, and I wanted to get even better,” she said. “I want to work that hard.”
The wins at the collegiate level have been tougher to get, but Ketcherside continues to work on her game.
“The best highlight was getting my first college win, and I was excited to one under my belt,” she said.
And although working on her game is important, so has been her growth as a person.
“As her coach I love how she represents Pacific athletics, and she’s a great role model for all young women,” Erwin said. “She still takes the time to give something back to the community.”
Contact reporter Tony Acosta at (209) 546-8292 or email@example.com.