CONYERS - The ever-growing list of Rockdale County signees continues to increase.
Rockdale girls soccer standout Sarah Kustick is the latest prodigy. Kustick recently signed a soccer scholarship with Presbyterian College, a Division I school in South Carolina.
"Although I am a first year head coach, I have had the opportunity to work with Sarah since her first year at RCHS," Rockdale coach Alf Holst said. "Sarah's work ethic is unbelievable; she leads by example. Anything we do in training since her freshman year she has done without complaints. She puts in the work to continuously improve her skill and knowledge of the game.
"To sum it up, Sarah knows that she has that in the game of soccer, it's 'do or don't do because there is no try,' and Sarah always does whatever it takes to be competitive on the field and in the classroom," he added.
Kustick, a senior, holds a 3.7 GPA (non-weighted) - 4.23 (weighted) - and is ranked 14th at Rockdale County High School.
"She is not a naturally gifted athlete, never flashy, and therefore has had to earn her place through an understanding of the game, work ethic and constant training," said Harry Kustick, Sarah's father who has played and coached soccer for more than 35 years. "(She) isn't flashy, just incredibly effective; she is modest to a fault."
Since her second year with the Lady Bulldogs, Sarah has been the team captain. She earned this honor based on several factors, starting with unparalleled work ethic, attitude and leadership.
"She does not let her emotions get to her during the match. She is able to always play the game and train focused on soccer," Holst said. "She is also a great communicator with the other players and is always welcoming of new players."
Kustick was sidelined due to an ACL tear for most of her junior year. Earlier this season Kustick suffered another injury - a quad pull - yet nobody would have known had her father not insisted she tell Holst.
"She wouldn't tell a soul or make an excuse," Harry Kustick said. "She is one of the mentally and physically toughest kids around but doesn't want anyone to notice."
Opponents are taking notice now. Entering Friday, the Lady Bulldogs were 1-1.
"I believe that Presbyterian coach (Brian Purcell) sees Sarah as a solid student athlete. Her skills and knowledge of the game will be greatly improved playing at a higher level, and I know that she will excel in the classroom," Holst said.
Jason Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.