Who’s that Bulldog? It’s MHS senior and Lady Bulldog Tracy Pillatzki. Tracy says, “I feel like I’m happy all of the time. That’s my personality, but it comes out more on the volleyball court. I love being out there and cheering everyone on.”
Tracy has been wearing a Milbank volleyball jersey since she was in seventh grade. Reflecting on those last six years, she says, “The best is when you get a good kill. That feels great. You always get to be with your team, and that team environment just makes you feel so good. When I was younger, the seniors could be really intimidating, and it was scary to go to practice sometimes. But I feel like we (the seniors this year) have made the underclassmen feel welcome and a part of the team.”
Volleyball contains its share of highs and lows, even in a single set, and Tracy says, “The best games are when we are down, but make a huge comeback and win the set. We did that several times this year. There’s a sense of fear, but then we come back and win and I think, ‘Holy Cow! We just did that.’ It’s so cool.” On the other hand, she says, “It’s easy to get down on yourself and think it’s your fault for losing if you have several bad hits in a row.” When that happens to her, she uses her bubbly personality to shift the focus onto her teammates. “I try to pick someone else up and not think about what’s going wrong, but what’s going good.”
She might naturally react in such an easygoing manner because she comes from a family of nine children. She was the sixth child born to Cindy and Mark Pillatzki, but now has two brothers, six sisters, and one brother-in-law. Tracy thinks all her siblings exhibit similar personalities. They are fun, funny, and hardworking, but she believes she might work harder than the others. “That comes out during volleyball,” she says.
With such a large family, there usually is no shortage of fans, but there is one person she can always count on — her sister Natalie. “She always believes in me. She tells me I’m good, I can do it, and she works with me to get better,” Tracy says. “Plus, she’s always there cheering me on.” Apparently, there is no shortage of socks at the Pillatzki house either as Tracy says with a laugh, “The one thing people might not know about me is, I have never worn mismatched socks, and I never will.”
Her free time also includes a lot of family. Tracy’s immediate family and her aunts, uncles, and cousins often gather to play the board game Catan. “It’s hard to explain or describe, but we are really into it,” she says.
At MHS, Tracy is involved in basketball, track, band, choir, and 4-H. She was a contestant in the 2019 Snow Queen contest and is active at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in choir and youth group.
Tracy is considering occupational therapy as her field of study, but has not decided which college to attend. “I would like to stay fairly close to home, though,” she says. Next year, she will also miss putting on her Bulldog uniform. “With my uniform on, it’s time for me to be a leader and time to shine in front of everyone. I am proud of that.”
Photo by VPD Studio