Micah Wessinger is 5-foot-7 and a slim 125 pounds.
She seldom looks people in the eye during a conversation, If she doesn't know the person she's talking to, Wessinger is quiet and shy.
She has a tiny voice and rattles out sentences -- when she's not giving one-word replies -- in rapid-fire succession. They're so quick she sometimes has to be asked what she said.
But when she puts on a Chester or any other uniform, whether it's cross country, basketball or track, watch out. Wessinger doesn't wear a cape with a big "M'' on the back, but the transformation is akin to Clark Kent taking off his glasses and becoming Superman.
"She is the most competitive and probably the most athletic player I've ever coached," Chester girls basketball coach Marilyn Milton said. "No matter what Micah does, her goal is to win. When we have shootarounds at practice, she does everything she can to be the first to reach 20 and win.
"She does whatever we need done. She has court savvy and works hard to win. Coaches have to spend time teaching the game and fundamentals. That doesn't apply to Micah. She understands basketball and that's what puts her ahead of most players."
Wessinger said she gets her athletic prowess from her family. Her mom, Kay, is a middle school physical education teacher.
Her cousin, Jill Wessinger, was an outstanding Lady Cyclones softball player. Cousin Michael Wessinger was "pretty good" at soccer. Her dad, Mike, is always there for support.
Wessinger runs cross country in the fall, trying to stay in shape for basketball and track. She admitted this year's Class AAA state meet was not one of her best and that she could have done a lot better than 59th place.
Basketball is different. Wessinger, a shooting guard, averaged 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals this year as a junior. She hit 80 percent of her free throws, was named to the All-Region 3-AAA and The Herald All-Area teams and won Winthrop's 3-point shooting championship.
It's not all sports for Wessinger.
She's a 3.7 grade-point-average student, loves math and is vice-president of Chester's student body. When not studying or working on sports, she's online with MySpace account.
She drives a 1994 red Toyota pickup with the camper shell she calls the Red Dragon because of her fondness for Japanese food.
But her love for sports started several years ago.
Wessinger credits her court skills to growing up and playing with the guys at the Chester YMCA.
"There weren't a lot of girls around, so I had to play with the fellows or sit and watch," she said. "I think that made me a better player. The guys are fast, so I had to pick up my game to stay on the court with them.
"It taught me to be aggressive and not to shy away from the physical part of the game. So when I started playing varsity with the girls, I had an advantage."
That was her freshman season under former coach Zeke Washington. That year, Washington said he wanted to take it slow with Wessinger, to break her in gradually. Before the end of the season, she was starting.
Washington left for Lower Richland two years ago. The Diamond Hornets moved to Class AAA this season and were assigned to the same region as Chester. Washington coaches the LRHS boys, which means she'll get to see her former coach.
"It's going to be great to see him, and an old AAU coach, JoJo English, is his assistant," Wessinger said. "But I have to give a lot of credit to one of our assistant principals, Alfred Williams, who was coach Washington's assistant.
"Coach Williams led me down the right path in athletics and academics. He worked with me in basketball. He was our track coach before he stepped down, but he came to practice several times this spring to help me and give me encouragement."
In track, Wessinger holds school records in the 800, 1,600, 3,200 and as a member of the 4x800 relay team. She won the 800 at the Class AAA state meet and was second in the 1,600.
After finding out the USTAF Junior Olympics were coming to Rock Hill -- the state meet at Winthrop and the Region III meet at South Pointe -- Wessinger paid the entry fee out of pocket and competed as an unattached runner.
Wessinger won the 800 and 1,500 at the state meet, qualifying her for the regional. She was third in the regional 800, which qualified her for the national meet later this month in Omaha, Neb. She was fourth in the 1,500, one place shy of qualifying.
"I'm not going to the nationals," Wessinger said. "If I had qualified for both events, then we had talked about going. But not just for one.
"I plan to win both next year and go to the nationals because they will be on the East Coast. I might end up running track in college. I have one offer now, from The Citadel, but I'm going to wait it out and see what other options come along."
Milton said she believes it's only a matter of time before basketball coaches begin contacting Wessinger.
The Lady Cyclones have attended team camps this summer at Presbyterian and USC Upstate. Milton said most of the coaches who were there expressed interest.
"They saw her mental toughness and what she can do to help a team," Milton said. "I'm sure she'll get offers and some school will get a very good, smart player. She can shoot from the outside or dish the ball to our post players. And she's not afraid to go inside and fight for the ball."
Barry Byers • 329-4099