The Packer girls are heading into the playoffs after a very successful regular season, and senior guard Christine Baltezore has been a focal point in that success.
“She’s our ‘Energizer Bunny,’” head coach Barb Metcalf said. “I can’t say enough about her. She is one of the most unselfish players that I’ve ever coached.”
While basketball is a major focus for her at the moment, Baltezore has another sport, classes, family and her future to think about before May comes along.
First of all, her academic career is always at the forefront for her. Throughout her high school tenure, she has maintained a weighted GPA of 4.17.
The 18-year-old senior also tries to work time with her family into her busy schedule. Her mother, Joan, is a science teacher at West Fargo High School and her father, Jim, works for AgCountry Farm Credit Services in Fargo. She has two brothers: David, who is currently studying business at MSUM, and Darin, her twin (older by five minutes) and teammate on the Packers cross-country and track teams.
The Packers’ Track season begins in 10 days, and Baltezore, a five-year letter winner in that sport, has that to look forward to as well.
“I’ve always enjoyed running,” Baltezore said. “David was a runner, and he got Darin and me into it. I’ve always liked the adrenaline kick you get when the gun goes off. Being with the team and making those bonds over the years has really been fun.”
On top of the three sports in which she plays an active role, she is also the vice president of the National Honor Society and plays the French horn in the high school band.
Along with everything she does through the school, Baltezore also baby-sits and volunteers in her church’s youth group in her spare time.
“She’s also a good dog-sitter,” Metcalf said. “When she takes care of our dog, Daisy, she puts her through doggy boot camp. Daisy needs a vacation from Christine by the time we get back.”
Despite her busy schedule, Baltezore insists that she still finds time to be a teenager.
“It’s not as bad as you would think,” Baltezore said. “Usually, the team is my group of friends anyway, so doing stuff with them is pretty fun. I go to as many sporting events as I can. I hang out with my friends in the evening. You just have to prioritize your time a little more.”
With the end of her senior year looming, she also has to think about all that revolves around that event.
“Graduation will be exciting, especially since there’s two of us,” Baltezore said. “My parents will probably be frantic.”
After graduation, Baltezore has less than a month before heading to Annapolis, Md., to join the United States Naval Academy. She hopes to become a pilot, but ultimately chose to join the Navy instead of the Air Force.
“When I visited Annapolis, the atmosphere there gave me that feeling of ‘this is where I want to go,’” Baltezore said. “I don’t have perfect vision, so if I can’t fly, there are more opportunities for me there.”
With all of this coming up, Baltezore still has her mind set on helping the basketball team – a team she has been a part of since her freshman year – to the State tournament.
“Coming into this year and ending on such a strong note last year, we had to build up to that again, and I feel like we have,” Baltezore said. “We have great chemistry. We work really well together. There’s always ups and downs, but we’ve taken it a game at a time. (The team) is such a family. As a freshman, I was scared out of my mind, and everyone took me in. That bond is something I’ll carry with me, especially in the military.”
According to her coach, the growing pains have been few and far between throughout Baltezore’s time on the team.
“She has kind of an old lady’s soul in her,” Metcalf said, laughing. “She’s always been very mature. There isn’t a jealous bone in her body. She’s going to do well in the military because she is all about the program and the family. I see nothing but success in her future, and I’m very blessed to have coached her.”
Ultimately, Baltezore hopes to enjoy the last few games of her high school career with her teammates and friends.
“First off, (I would tell my teammates) thanks for all the wonderful times I’ve experienced with them,” Baltezore said. “It’s been quite the journey, but it’s been worth it.”