On Winning First Place: Kylie Ronnow

Going into this semester I could feel the strength of our team. Five out of eight people on the team had been captains the semester before and, frankly, we knew what we were doing. Before we went to a tournament hosted by The University of Alabama in January we hit a roadblock. It was established that one member couldn’t compete that weekend so we knew going in that we were a seven-person team, no big deal, right? By the time we would be heading to the Alabama Invitational we would be down two more members and be scrambling to find a replacement.


After finding a non-member to rope into joining, we were a six-person team going to a competition where all we wanted was one ballot. The car ride there was filled with the reassurance that surely we wouldn’t do as bad as we thought. When we got to the Invitational we would face teams that had previously competed at the ORCS and National level. We thought we were in over our heads. However, at the end of that tournament Andres, UTMT President, and I would go up and accept a first-place championship trophy. We were shocked.


The next few practices we focused on the Regional tournament in Louisville, Kentucky. Anytime someone mentioned doing well there was a chorus of people yelling “YOU BETTER KNOCK ON WOOD” and sure enough they did. When it came time to leave for the tournament I knew this team was special. We were, at this point, a team of seven confident, smart, and capable people.


At our Regional, the first team we faced would be Vanderbilt University and we were terrified. We knew they were good and we knew this would be difficult. We would go on to take two ballots from them. Along the way we faced Emory University, Indiana University, and the University of Kentucky who all gave us a run for our money. Thankfully, we met the challenge every single time. Again, at the end of this tournament, Andres and I would go accept the first place trophy and a bid to the next round of competition. We were shocked.


Being on a team with six other strong, confident, and opinionated people have been nothing more than a pleasure. At this point, we’re no longer teammate, but in fact a family. We have memories and stories that no matter how hard I try, no one else on this planet will be able to understand. Every single member of that team is my person. They know me and I know them and despite all of that we still get along.


To MaryGrace- Thank you for joining our team even though we slack off in practice and probably waste your time.


To Margaret- Thank you for showing me how to relax before the round by screaming Praying by Kesha, while hitting the high notes, and not being afraid of who is watching.


To Kiersten- Thank you for being someone I can always count on to pick up any slack that anyone leaves behind.


To Em- Thank you for being the team member who always can spot the silver lining and knows how to genuinely make everyone die laughing.


To Andres- Thank you for writing hilarious notes to me during the trial. These notes make me find the humor in even the largest mistake.


To Taylor- Thank you for showing me how to lead, be confident, and be me. The list can go on and on.


My team this semester has shown me so much, but most importantly they have shown me how when we come together, we are unstoppable.


Kylie Ronnow

kronnow@vols.utk.edu

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