The Grind, Presented by the Bank of Clarendon Wilson Hall's Jarecki shows veteran leadership for Lady Barons


If you've ever been to a sporting event at Wilson Hall, you've almost certainly heard the voice of Sullivan Jarecki.

Sully is a three-sport athlete for the Lady Barons, and she's always in the middle of the action. In the fall, she suits up for the volleyball team and did a little bit of everything for Rip Ripley's squad. As soon as volleyball comes to an end, she hits the court for Glen Rector's basketball team, diving at loose balls with reckless abandon. In the spring, she's played an integral role in leading Teresa Alexander's softball team to three consecutive SCISA state titles. She's aiming for four in a row this spring.

The Lady Baron senior is a through line for girls athletics at Wilson Hall. She comes with a "carrying your lunch pail" grit that every coach loves, and her passion oozes in every sport. She's often the loudest player on every team, but it's not with shrill commands. Sully brings a boundless positivity that is never overlooked by her coaches.

Maybe it's because she's the daughter of a coach, Adam Jarecki, the leader of the Baron football team. Maybe it's just her nature to be positive. Either way, Wilson Hall's coaches are glad to have her.

"When I look back on coaching Sully, the memories are going to be her ability to lead and her ability to empower others around her," Rip said. "She's such a great, faith-based kid that knows her belief and knows how to encourage others with everything she does. She can be hard on herself, hard on others, but it's her general positive spirit and way she went about it will be her legacy going forward."


Sully has been around sports since before she could walk. That's just the way things are when your dad coaches two sports and serves as his school's athletic director. When Sully was growing up, Adam was always busy running around Calhoun Academy, eventually moving the Jareckis to Wilson Hall in 2015.

"I don't remember it, but my parents are always saying I was in a stroller when I was watching football and baseball games, so I've literally grown up completely around sports," Sully said. "I remember just being so little in the backyard swinging a bat, my dad hitting or throwing whiffle balls at me. And I went to a ton of games because dad coached."

Sully also had two older sisters, Sarah Grace and Sydney, to look up to in several sports. Sydney is just five years older than Sully, so the youngest Jarecki followed right behind her with the Lady Barons.

"I kind of followed in their footsteps and just realized that I loved everything that they were doing," she said. I'm very competitive. So, seeing Sydney have success, I'm like, 'Dang, that looks fun. I want to do that.'"

Adam never wanted to force sports on his children, but they were always present with his teams as they grew up.

"My family is very sports oriented. Our social events are watching our youngins play ball. It's been a big part of our lives for years, and all of the girls have always been around it," Adam said. "They would stay at practice until momma could pick them up when they were little pups, and they'd soak in everything. They would see what we wanted to do and how hard you have to work and how sometimes you have to overcome things. That's always been their forte; all of my girls have worked very hard in everything they do. They take after their momma."

While Adam has always been a coach, he never took control of his daughters' teams. He wanted there to be a separation between dad and coach. That being said, he and his wife, Dori, have always had a front-row seat at every game.

"I just wanted to watch and see them do their thing. That's been important to us. We just want to be supportive," Adam said. "Dori hasn't missed a ballgame in anything. Because of my schedule, I don't get to see a lot of volleyball, but I get to see the basketball and the softball."

Even if Adam wasn't coaching her, Sully saw the way her dad coached. She also saw how players responded to him. The Lady Baron standout learned how to be the kind of player coaches want to have on their teams. That started with hard work.

"I guess just growing up with my dad as a coach, I always had that coach's mentality. Just like seeing how much your coaches want you to work hard and succeed and just being coachable," she said. "I think that helped me have drive and have more grit and intensity because I kind of know what they coached like a little bit more."

Sully will still turn to her dad for advice on anything. She'll get tips on her swing or fielding ground balls, but the most helpful tidbits center on the best advice any parent can have for their child.

"He's really good at just being able to talk," Sully said. "If I'm getting frustrated, (I can) get all my frustrations out and him kind of just restating like some positive thinking, a positive mindset."

Adam has also always preached hard work. Like his daughter, he's always quick to make a joke, but when it's time to get to work, both Jareckis bring the intensity required to succeed.

"My girls weren't the fastest girls in the world, they weren't the strongest, but they found ways to work hard and try to overcome some of that," Adam said. "That's something I think she gets from watching all of our ball and being around at practice."


Sully has been a part of some of Wilson Hall's most successful teams during her time with the Lady Barons. The softball program has brought home a ton of hardware with three straight titles, but they aren't the only winners. The volleyball team has won more than 30 games in each of the last two seasons and has been extremely competitive against a tough group of teams in SCISA 4A.

Throughout all of her teams, Sully has been the queen on the chess board who can help unlock things. As a softball player, she's moved positions three times throughout her high school career. She was always willing to do whatever Teresa asked of her.

"I remember in her ninth-grade year, we were having trouble in our defensive lineup, and we decided to try Sully in center field. Nothing seemed to be clicking right with the different options; it just wasn't gelling. When Sully was in center field, everything just fit right," Teresa said. "The next year, we were midway through the season, and she's again playing center field, and we're realizing something is just not gelling right on the infield. We had some people graduate, so we tried Sully at shortstop, and boom, everything gelled. In her junior year, we were having trouble in the leadoff position, we tried Sully at leadoff, and everything just seemed to click and gel."

The same can be said in volleyball. She spent most of her career as a defensive specialist but transitioned to becoming an outside hitter this fall. When Rip suggested making another change to libero, she was game.

"I'm competitive. I like to win. Even when it's racing to who gets the front seat in the car, I like to win," Sully said of her willingness to play anywhere. "I think the coaches, no matter what position I'm in, they're very supportive, and they're gonna encourage me and help me get a ton of reps to be confident in that position.

"I think they've also instilled a lot of grit in me. Coach (Chuck) McCord, he talks about that a lot, grit and courage. I still think I've always had it because of my family, just being very sporty and competitive. But I think just the grit and the intensity, I want to win, I'm gonna do it no matter what. If my coach thinks that me playing shortstop is the best for the team, then I'm gonna put my trust in her. And I know that they believe in me, so I've got to believe in myself. I can do it."


That flexibility is what every coach wants to see out of their athletes. It's a subtle form of leadership that can be infectious throughout a team. Every program has different styles of leader, but what makes Sully special for Wilson Hall is her ability to cover several bases.

"There are all these different kinds of leadership. You've got your leaders who perform in the clutch position, leaders who are vocal, and she really checks the boxes of all the different kinds of leaders that exist," Teresa said. "The elite teams are led by players, and I think that's part of our success, even back to her freshman year."

That leadership is natural to Sully. It makes a massive difference in every sport.

"Coming from a coach's family, she has a very clear perspective on the importance of effort, the importance of fundamentals and the importance of providing leadership that the team needs," Glen said. "She's just displayed an incredible amount of competitiveness as she's gone through the program here.

"That's just her personality. She's willing to step up, she's willing to be the voice, she's willing to provide leadership, and that's just natural in her."

That mindset also makes life easier on the coaching staff of each sport.

"I don't really have to have motivational speeches or talks because she does that in the locker room before I even get there," Glen said. "She will a lot of times lead the team in devotions, and they're always related to what we're going through as a team. The negative side is that sometimes she's down on herself, but I think that always comes from a competitive side of always wanting to do well."

Sully has also played for each of her coaches for years at this point. She knows the message each coach will have for the team and can often beat them to the punch.

"I think she is complemented so well by Marybeth (Van Patten) and Talan (Griffin) for us. They've been playing for me since the eighth grade. Come to a game, and you'll notice I don't hardly have team huddles because those three seniors are going to take over," Teresa said. "They already know what I'm going to say, and they go ahead and say it. I'm just off in the distance nodding my head."

That ability to step up vocally appeared early in Sully's career. While some younger players are a little more timid, Sully was never afraid to speak up.

"She kinda spoils you as a coach the way she can be an extension on the field and court for what the coaches know and think. She's always possessed those. Even as a younger athlete, you could tell she was going to be a strong leader," Rip said. "This past year, she took it to another level. She was really an assistant coach on the court and not in a bossy way but the way she works to do things the right way. It was nice having her and some of the other seniors that we had because they knew the way things were supposed to go and keep the younger ones in that way."

That nature isn't necessarily because she's coach's daughter. That's just Sully being Sully.

"It's been part of my personality," she said. "I like to talk, I like to be loud, so I think that just has come natural."


The next couple of weeks will be emotional for Sully, as she makes her final run as a Lady Baron. Her final season comes with a mix of pressure and simple joy.

"I'm glad that my high school career is ending with this team because I love this team. This is one of my favorite teams, even though I've been on a lot. I love all the girls," Sully said. "It's really sad, though. When softball ends, high school sports are done, and I don't know what I'm doing with my time. I've spent like 16, 17 years, all my life just playing sports and being involved in that, so it's gonna be a little different."

With the amount of success she's had on the diamond, there are a certain amount of outside expectations. She's just trying to keep her blinders up and focus on having fun with her friends.

"There's a lot of pressure. Every year, everyone's coming up to us being like, 'OK, y'all are winning again.' And it's hard to focus in on it, but every year has been different," Sully said. "We've gone through lots of up and downs, and thankfully we've gotten to just succeed through it and get past those hard falls, because usually it happened right before the state tournament. We would have to have a practice of getting our minds right. Every year is different, and it's hard to not listen to the outside because you have all these people, I mean pressure on you 24/7. We really had to focus on just honing in together and working together with each season."

This season has been a different sort of challenge for Wilson Hall. After losing a big group of seniors, a lot of younger girls had their first crack at varsity this spring. As they worked to integrate those newcomers, weather knocked out a lot of their early season slate. It's been a process, but Sully has found joy in everything.

"It is frustrating. We've lost a lot of games to weather, so our season looked a little different, lots of gym practices," Sully said. "We're frustrated with that. We can't play, so we haven't been able to move people around as much as we would like. But I do think, even with all this adversity, our team is coming together, especially recently. We all kind of found our why, basically."

The Lady Barons always have a saying at the center of their spring season. This year, it's "We shall rise." It's a reference to Micah 7:8, "Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light."

"We're gonna have setbacks, but we're gonna keep going, and we're going to rise to the occasion," Sully said. "I keep on telling myself, and I tell the team, we'll have hard practices, coach is pushing us, but this is all going to be worth it in the end. We're going to keep fighting because the outcome will work."

Sully's messaging has been so important with a young team this spring. Teresa feels blessed to have her in the fold.

"She's done a great job of understanding the balance of when you need to give a little bit of tough love and hold people accountable and when you need to give a little bit of grace, recognizing the inexperience some people are faced with this year," Teresa said. "I think what's been most impressive about Sully is that the girls' eyes are locked on her when she's speaking, so she's earned the respect of her teammates. I think that comes down to that great balance and that great understanding of how to understand that situation. She's a coach on the field.

"I think about losing her as a shortstop, losing her as a hitter, and those are big hits, but it's that leadership role that she plays. She's three leaders in one, so she leaves some big shoes to fill."