Tiffany Bartholomew is all about building relationships.
It’s what helped the St. David’s School senior navigate through high school while playing five different sports.
Because she was one of about 625 Warriors roaming about the intimate St. David’s campus and its various playing fields, Bartholomew could put a name to nearly every face.
She’ll attend Pfeiffer University next year to play her final seasons of organized softball, so the team captain wants to stay connected to the many friends she’s made through six years of Warriors sports.
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“I’ve enjoyed it so much,” said Bartholomew, a six-time softball letter winner, of her time in a St. David’s jersey – or swimsuit. While softball is her first love, Bartholomew competed on the basketball, swimming, cross country and track and field teams as well.
“I’ve had a really good experience,” she said. “But I kind of mentally prepared myself. This is the last game, or this is the last time you’ll eat with this team in season. It’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be nice to start a new chapter at Pfeiffer.”
Bartholomew hopes to do all she can to help the Falcons. The senior pitcher threw 585 career strikeouts in 400 innings with St. David’s. She’s been a softball all-state selection since eighth grade, and she started her athletic career at St. David’s as a seventh-grader with softball. Each year, she’d tack on another sport.
It’s something to come back for. Definitely when I’m at Pfeiffer, I’m going to want to come back for a football game or a basketball game.
St. David’s senior Tiffany Bartholomew
The first time she ran track, the Warriors won a state title, and last winter was her first on the swim team. In basketball, Bartholomew reached the 1,500-point threshold.
“As her talents have increased, so has her leadership,” said Sherry Kapelar, the St. David’s outgoing athletics director. “She encourages girls to come out and play. She’s a general on the field. She knows what needs to take place, and she makes sure we’re making every effort that we can to make things happen.”
When Bartholomew is done playing at Pfeiffer, she wants to land a career involving children. St. David’s is a pre-K-12 private school in Raleigh, and Bartholomew has served as a mentor and leader to the young faces around campus. She heads a biweekly Bible study, which is among many activities putting her in touch with St. David’s youth.
She hopes all she’s done in sports will leave not only a mark on the athletic program but the school’s younger students.
“It’s a way I can build relationships,” Bartholomew said of her work with youth, which includes an eighth-grade mentor program and a fourth-grade Big Buddies program. “I want to be a leader and mentor to these girls so that when they’re my age, the apple won’t fall far from the tree and they’ll give back to the community like I’m doing.”
Bartholomew sings in her school and church choirs. She has also sung for several nursing homes and has donated more than 60 inches of her hair to the charity Locks of Love since she was 6.
Bartholomew maintains a solid academic schedule. During spring, when she competed in softball and ran track (100- and 200-meter race, discus and shot put), she said she arrived to school at 7:30 each morning to discuss classwork with teachers.
She has especially excelled in science, claiming National Honor Society recognition as a junior and senior. She has won the school’s most outstanding awards in biology, chemistry and physics.
“Every time I have free time, I always pull out a book and study,” Bartholomew said. “As soon as we finish our classwork, I immediately start homework.”
Her weekends are pretty packed, too.
During the fall sports seasons, she’d attend softball showcases and swim meets.
Through it all, Bartholomew said she tries to remain upbeat – win or lose – and focus on the relationships she’s gaining.
“Sometimes if it’s not a good game or you don’t get a good test grade, you have to say there’s always next time,” she said. “I always look at the positive, not the negative, and I think in positive state of mind, it helps me go through more and be able to excel more.”
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan