News & Features
Honoring The Memory of Karie Schlukebir
by Marcia Frost, 4 May 2011
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In 1999, life seemed good for Karie Schlukebir. After a stellar junior career, Indiana University Coach Lin Loring had recruited her to play at the Big Ten School. She was in her freshman year and only 18 years old when she was told she had melanoma, but Schlukebir was not about to let the cancer end her life without a fight.
Despite the endless treatments, Kari Schlukebir continued at school until the beginning of 2000, when she was told the cancer had spread. She would continue to fight recurrences of the disease for 11 years, without letting it define her life. During that time she finished her degree, got married and worked as the assistant women's tennis coach. She also continued to do everything she could to help others in the fight against cancer, including running the Boston Marathon in 2009 to raise money for the Shade Foundation
Karie Schlukebir had began playing tennis at the age of four by her mother, Kathy, who was an instructor at the time. Playing tennis was a natural occurrence in the Kalamazoo, Michigan-based family. Karie's sister Kristen dominated the Girls' 18s for years. (Karie and Kristen also won a doubles title together at a USTA Professional Circuit event in 2002). Oldest sister Katie has coached juniors and professionals after a successful college tennis career at Stanford and a short stint on the pro circuit.
It wasn't only her sisters that Karie Schlukebir was close to. She and Linda Tran were friends since childhood . They played doubles in the juniors and, although it wasn't really planned that way, they both ended up playing for Indiana, with the younger Tran arriving a year later. Their doubles play in college clicked as well as their friendship, and they made the finals of the ITA Rolex Indoors their first year as a team. If they continued to play together during their college tennis careers, they felt they were poised to take it all the way at the NCAAs, but that was not their top goal.
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