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Poth returns to lead Jeannette basketball team

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Rachel Poth is a senior on the Lady Jays basketball team.
Kristie Linden | The Jeannette Spirit
Rachel Poth is a senior on the Lady Jays basketball team. Kristie Linden | The Jeannette Spirit

After an extended break from sports, Rachel Poth has returned to the basketball court in her senior year at Jeannette High School.

Poth was active in sports through her middle school years — playing basketball, softball and soccer — but changed her focus in high school to academics and part-time jobs.

“I was always playing sports. I was a tomboy, it was a big decision to walk away,” said Poth.

She works at Boston Market in Greensburg and Mauro's Restaurant in Jeannette.

“I felt like I was working my life away and wanted to take a break,” Poth said. “I missed playing basketball.”

Her father encouraged her to rejoin the sport she loved during her senior year by reminding her that she has the rest of her life to work hard and should take the time to enjoy her final year in high school.

“It's always been my favorite sports to play. I think you just have to have a feel for a sport. I could play it wherever and whenever and it's comfortable to play.”

She plays at guard on the PIAA playoff-bound Lady Jays team and said she would play at any position and she is glad to have a place on the court.

“No matter who plays where, it feels good to be part of something.”

The girls will play tomorrow night in the first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs in a game against General McLane.

Poth is enjoying the ride without the pressure some of the other seniors on the team are feeling leading up to the game. Because she hasn't played all four years, Poth said, she isn't feeling the same stress some of the other girls might be feeling to finish on top.

“We're still excited because our season isn't over yet,” Poth said. “I thought we'd get a break (this week) because there is a week until the next game, but we're working really hard. It's a higher level (of play) at the state playoffs.”

As Poth prepares for the end of her high school days, she's focused on making smart choices for her next step. She is in the top 10 percent of her class, which gives her an opportunity to attend WCCC for free for one year to get some of her core classes out of the way while she chooses her final destination.

“I always wanted to be a teacher. A lot of students come to me for help. It's a huge decision. College is very expensive, I don't want to go to a random college (if I'm not sure).”

Poth is trying to be sure that if she takes on debt related to college its due to attending the right school for the right major.

“I'm trying to be responsible,” she said. “I've heard a lot of people who say they wish they would have (gone to WCCC). I'm trying to start life on a clean slate.”

Poth is a member of National Honor Society, Student Council, yearbook staff and is part of the journalism class. She plays volleyball and softball with her church, Calvary Assembly in Irwin.

“I'll always keep sports in my life.”Poth is grateful for her parents, Shawn and Christine Poth, for always encouraging her to work hard. She has three sisters, Nicole, Courtney and Hannah, and a brother, Shawn.

“We're really close, always supportive of each other,” said Poth of her family. “It's nice to know they are supportive of what I do and I'm grateful to have a family like that.”

Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 724-838-5154.

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