UP FOR THE CHALLENGE: Batenhorst Overcomes Adversity for Successful Career
Seven Lakessenior Casey Batenhorst has enjoyed a storied high school volleyball career so far.
She is an SMU-commit, four-year varsity letterman and a state champion.
Incredibly, however, Batenhorst has accomplished all of this while dealing with Duane syndrome in her left eye. It's an eye movement disorder that causes her to see double when looking to her left.
"I've had it all my life, so I've learned to choose the right one (ball) when I see double," Batenhorst said, laughing. "I've had some complications. It takes a little more effort and focus from me to see the ball completely and get around the ball."
While the disorder doesn't affect her serving, blocking or defense, if Batenhorst is hitting from the right side, it can be difficult to see the ball when looking left. She must take a different approach than normal, more direct toward the ball instead of opening up her right side toward it.
The positive is that Duane syndrome has become the force behind a fearless, competitive drive that belies a friendly, outgoing personality.
"If I can overcome having to see double of the ball, I know I can overcome anything," Batenhorst said. "Any little challenge, I'm up for."
Batenhorst is the last of a remarkable trio of sisters that has dominated for Seven Lakes over the last few years. The oldest sister, Dani, class of 2017, plays at Gonzaga. The middle sister, Ally, was the 2020-21 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year last season and now plays at Nebraska.
It is now Casey's turn.
She averaged 10.2 assists per set in helping the Spartans win Katy ISD's first volleyball state championship in 2020 and is ready for more.
"I'm excited to show diversity and different talents I've acquired, as far as more dumping skills, more blocking, mixing up the offense and being more of a leader," Batenhorst said.
Batenhorst is confident the Spartans have what it takes to repeat. They will look different after graduating three of their top hitters. Seven Lakes will have to mix things up offensively and move hitters around more, which means Batenhorst could see some time as an attacker with the emergence of sophomore setter Simone Romriell.
"People say it's hard to win a championship back-to-back, but we're the team for it," Batenhorst said. "We're all passionate to win it all again. Anything's possible with the group of girls we have now."