Courtney Fitzpatrick is an athlete for all seasons whose youth was dedicated to sports.
She played soccer, basketball and softball for four years and was a captain for each sport in her senior year at Delran High School.
But unlike many of her athletic peers, Fitzpatrick will walk away from the games she loved to focus on scholastics at the University of Delaware.
“I never really considered playing sports because I wanted to focus on my degree,” she said.
Fitzpatrick has played the same three sports since she was 5. At Delran, she was a center back in soccer, a guard/small forward in basketball and a catcher and center fielder in softball.
She was a starter in all three sports for at least two of her years with the Bears.
This is the first summer in 13 years she hasn’t trained for a fall sport.
“It is already different because I don’t have a sport to go to,” Fitzpatrick noted. “I’m going to try and stay active because I’ve always been active.”
Fitzpatrick is the youngest of Alicia and Dan Fitzpatrick’s three daughters. Their father played basketball at Widener University after attending Holy Cross High School.
All the Fitzpatrick girls — Danielle is the oldest, Catlyn is next — were three-sport stars at Delran, but they all chose not to play sports in college.
“If they wanted to, we would’ve pursued it,” said their mother.
Danielle, a middle school teacher in Delran who played soccer, basketball and softball, is in the sports Hall of Fame at the high school. Catlyn graduated from Arizona State last year with a kinesiology degree. She played soccer, basketball and lacrosse at Delran.
Courtney will major in nursing.
“She did get approached by Wilmington University (as a soccer recruit), but they didn’t have a nursing major,” Alicia Fitzpatrick said.
“We are very proud of her. It is a hard major, but luckily for us she won’t be too far away.”
Fitzpatrick’s basketball coach, Pete Miles, admires her maturity.
“It is a major part of my life, but there are other things,” said Miles, a coach for 37 years. “She realizes that at a young age.
“I think that is kind of unique nowadays. She has her life in perspective. It is obvious a college education is first and foremost to her.
“She made a choice for her future.”
Miles thought Fitzpatrick could have gone to a smaller college and played softball or soccer.
“She was able to step back and say she had a good high school career, but it is now time to focus on other things,” he added.
“I think some kids choose a school just for that sport. She is doing it from the other perspective, taking care of her career choice first and athletics is second.”
Fitzpatrick’s softball coach, Danielle Carlotto, put sports first at Philadelphia University, a Division II college where she played softball and soccer. She eventually obtained a master’s in teaching.
“My plan all along was to be a teacher, but I just happened to get a scholarship,” Carlotto recalled. “So I went there (Philadelphia) and played, and then I went two more years and got my teaching job.”
“She could have played somewhere,” the coach said of Fitzpatrick. “If she went to a small Division III school, she could have played softball or soccer … probably even basketball.
“She is someone who loves sports; she comes from a family who loves sports. Her whole life, that is all she has done, and to just give it up like that. … She is determined to become a nurse, and she is determined to do good.”
“Right now I’m just relaxing,” Fitzpatrick said of her summer hiatus. “I will probably start going to the gym or start running.
“I was a little exhausted after playing softball, so I’m taking a little break.”
Reach Kevin Callahan at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @CP_KCallahan on Twitter.