ST. LOUIS — She is one of a kind.
Teri Clemens is the only one playing pickleball at the Missouri Pickleball Club who has seven National Championships on her resume.
"I am probably the most competitive female in St. Louis argumentatively," Clemens said.
There is no argument.
The Parkway West grad became the first female to receive an athletic scholarship at Northeast Missouri State University, now Truman State University.
But it was her 14-year run as the Washington University volleyball coach with seven National Championships and 10 Final Fours which sets her apart.
But at age 42, Clemens had to retire because her health failed her. An infection from her childhood took away sports and almost her life.
"I got meningitis...I got 24 blood clots...I had nine stents put in. I was just so weak...I couldn't walk for a year, and I was in a wheelchair. The weakness would overcome me and then I would get another illness and another illness," she said.
Miraculously, Clemens got her health back and celebrated it by running a marathon.
"It's like an old quote 'wouldn't it be wonderful if you lost everything you had today and got it all back tomorrow,'" Clemens said.
What she has now is an incredible arsenal of pickleball shots.
She teaches, she plays, and she wins.
"She's got a 'never say die' attitude. She's extremely fierce," Dana Hawkins said.
"I think she's probably one of the top players in the nation for her age group," Hawkins said.
The sport seems tailor-made for Clemens. Just the right dose of athleticism, competitiveness and analysis.
"No doubt...all coaches look at strategies...look at placement and look at the demeanor of the game, the dynamics of how the ball is moving more than the average player. So, I am always studying the game," Clemens said.
If you ever see Clemens on the pickleball court, you may want to walk the other way.