Guerin’s Becky Bartnicki has been immersed in volleyball for as long as she can remember.
That’s to be expected as volleyball runs through the veins of her family. Sister Jackie was a star player at Guerin and currently plays for College of DuPage. Mom Louise coached her in elementary school and Becky’s cousin Paul Bartnicki is the head coach of the Gators’ varsity.
Becky Bartnicki has no shortage of advisers.
“My mom is always talking to me about volleyball and things I need to work on,” Becky Bartnicki said. “It doesn’t bother me because my sister does it too. At first I didn’t think I was going to do volleyball in college but now I really want to.”
Her cousin must walk a fine line as the head coach, but it’s made easier by the fact that Becky Bartnicki is one of the team’s best players.
“I’m sure there’s outside pressure thinking there’s preferential treatment,” Paul Bartnicki said. “But I think I’m the hardest on her compared to anybody.”
Teammates will use Becky Bartnicki to gauge the mood of the coach.
“(My teammates) always think I talk to him,” Becky said. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, did Paul say something?’ And I just say ‘No, I don’t talk to him.’ ”
“And it’s vice versa too,” Paul added. “I’ll ask, ‘Are the girls saying anything, do you know anything?’ And she just says, ‘No.’ ”
Becky Bartnicki has been on varsity for three years, while this is Paul Bartnicki’s first as varsity head coach. However, he’s been in the program for four years and has watched Becky grow as a player.
“She’s always been kind of green, especially for utilizing her height,” Paul Bartnicki said. “But starting last year, she really has come into her own. Looking through the score sheet, she’s definitely a leader on the team in kills and taking control.”
Becky Bartnicki has had to step up as a leader this season. The Gators lost five starters to graduation and she is one of the captains along with senior setter Kathleen Sweeney and senior defensive specialist Anna D’Alessandro.
“She’s definitely a team player and always makes sure everyone is positive,” junior outside hitter Eileen Hogan said. “If there is something wrong, she always takes it upon herself to try and fix it and she wants to make sure everyone is always doing their best.”
While Becky Bartnicki is a star volleyball and basketball player for the Gators, art is another of her loves.
“I’m in AP studio art right now,” she said. “We’re working on projects every week and it’s really tough. People think they don’t have the skills to do it and there’s only three people in our class. You have to do 32 pieces by the end of the year.
“My last piece was a games piece and our teacher is very broad about it so I did a casino bars scene. The piece I’m doing right now is a skeleton on a basketball court with a basketball. It’s very detailed with the shading.”
Becky Bartnicki is hoping to play volleyball in college where she may also pursue an art degree. Her dream school is the University of Minnesota.
“I’ve always watched them since I was a kid,” she said. “They always have a good team and they’re ranked (No. 4 in the nation) right now.”