No lazy summer for Poth’s Chloe Patton
Chloe Patton, an incoming eighth-grader at Poth Junior High School, celebrates the third-place finish her USA Volleyball team earned at the Junior National Championship.
POTH -- When summer vacation rolls around, most junior high school girls are just happy for the break. Staying up late, sleeping in, and spending time with friends is pretty typical of most. Poth’s Chloe Patton, however, is anything but typical.
At the age of just 13 years, Chloe has already proven herself to be a gifted athlete, and the talented young lady is constantly making the most of every opportunity that comes her way. Whether engaging in traditional volleyball, sand volleyball, track and field, or karate, Chloe has dedicated herself to one endeavor after another, and continues to find success at every step along the way.
Chloe’s athletic career began back in the first grade. As she struggled to keep pace with her growing body, Chloe was seen as “clumsy.” Her schoolteacher recommended karate to help with her coordination, and Chloe went all in for the next five years, eventually earning a black belt along the way. She later gave up the sport, due to the time demands from other activities, but said she thoroughly enjoyed karate, and credits it for helping her to become more disciplined.
Living in Falls City at an early age, Chloe received an introduction to basketball -- the preferred sport of most young girls in Beaver Nation. Chloe, however, never took to the sport, and instead felt playing volleyball would be more fun. Her mother, Kristi, signed her up for a club team when she was 8-1/2 years old, and Chloe took to the sport like a fish to water. She has been playing and enjoying it ever since.
Chloe will be entering the eighth grade at Poth Junior High School this fall, but isn’t waiting around for the UIL volleyball season. She has been playing on club teams throughout the year, and has enjoyed much success.
As part of a USA Volleyball club team, Chloe recently competed in the Junior National Championships June 28 through July 5 in Dallas, helping her team to a bronze medal amidst a field of more than 120 teams. Chloe’s squad took on teams from Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico, California, Florida, Missouri, and Arkansas en route to the third-place finish.
So what is it about volleyball that Chloe loves so much? What drives her to spend so much time and effort on the sport?
“I love it. I love the rush and energy of being on the court,” she said.
“Swinging and killing the ball.”
Chloe plays middle blocker as well as outside hitter, and said her favorite position is on the left side.
“I have the most power there and I can let it rip,” she said with a smile.
Chloe and her family recognize that the level of competition is really high these days, and understand that for Chloe to achieve the success she seeks in the sport, she must continue to play club ball, and even to receive private lessons at times.
While playing for the school in the fall, and on club teams throughout the spring and summer, most kids would have their fill of volleyball, but not Chloe. She and Poth teammate Courtney Clark decided to try something different this year, and the pair formed a sand volleyball team. The two-on-two action is great for their speed and communication, and most importantly, the girls are having a blast doing it. They will continue playing into August with a tournament Aug. 3 in Austin, and then another in San Antonio on Aug. 10.
And as it says on a late-night infomercial -- “But wait, there’s more.”
In addition to volleyball, Chloe got into track and field this past year. Poth Coach Joe McKinney started working with her, and she has quickly risen to the top. Chloe has been working hard at throwing the discus, and is winning medals every time she turns around. She recently won gold at a regional meet for the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation (TAAF), and was set to throw in the state tournament this month. When competing for Poth Junior High School earlier this year, Chloe not only threw the discus, but also competed in the high jump, and as part of the 4x100- and 4x200-meter relay teams.
“I love track,” she said simply.
With so many activities on her plate, it seems she and her family could be overwhelmed, but they try and keep everything in perspective. Kristi said she is proud of her daughter, and is impressed with how quickly she learns, and how dedicated she can be at such a young age. I think most would agree.
At just 13 years old and only about to enter her eighth-grade year, it seems Chloe is just getting started in what is sure to be a phenomenal athletic career. She said she was eyeing several of the Poth track records and hopes to break them in the coming years. She also wants to push herself on the volleyball court to be as good as she can be.
So while most of her peers kick back for one more month of summer vacation, Chloe will continue working hard at the sports she loves. It should be exciting to see what she can accomplish, given she has already done so much, so young.