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Importance of Tennis Athletes

Gracie Sikes
Ella Clauser (11) in a tennis match.

Tennis is actually a sport. Some people play tennis just for fun of it, but it is a sport that athletes do train for. In addition to their physical training, players at FHS learn so many more things during the season.

According to the Lady Cats tennis team, the greatest challenges most athletes face today happen in their heads. Dani West (12)  says motivation is her biggest issue, and Haley Tucker (11) says mindsets trouble her most. Clara Basden (11) says that work management and balancing other hobbies are the two challenges she faces.  Emily Geen (12) reveals that sportsmanship is her biggest struggle.

Of course, tennis players are out to win the next match, but many of them also have short-term goals they’d like to accomplish in the next few months to a couple of years. Haley focuses on “becoming a stronger player.” Now that the season is over, Clara says that she has not given up on playing entirely but knows there is still “college credit to be done” as well. Dani is also into “getting good grades” in the fall of her senior year. Emiley, meanwhile, says she is already focused on “learning to support myself.”

Even though the tennis team members took each year as it came, they did not forget what they had learned in prior seasons. Players gave valuable answers about earlier years. Clara said, “The first year was scary, next year we were close friends, and by the third year we would be friends with everyone.” Haley said that each year helped “to shape my mindset to give myself my all.” Dani explained that “the atmosphere each game taught her” was important.

Their common interest in tennis is pretty important to these Lady Blackcats, but beyond the courts their interests branch out in some different and amazing directions. As she approaches the end of high school, Dani finds “hanging out with friends” important. Emiley is already putting her education to use by working “part time in the health department.” Clara said that “crochet, mini-games, and painting” are her faves, and Haley really likes “reading and learning” when she’s not practicing her swing.

These girls built up a stellar public image by achieving a second place overall team finish in both conference play and at the district level. Emiley Geen and Clara Basden finished fourth in doubles at districts after a second place win at the Sikeston Tournament. Of their success, Emiley remarked, “It’s pretty important to make it a good reputation.” Since Fredericktown places high priority on school sports teams, Clara and Haley Tucker added, “You are always going to be on front covers of newspapers.” Both these girls earned second place singles awards along with Becca Bell (11) in conference matches. Becca was joined by teammate Ella Clauser (11) for a third in doubles in the conference. Rounding out a strong junior roster this year, Nina Lewis earned a conference first place in singles. As a senior earning third place in singles at districts, Dani West emphasized the team view on public image when she said, “You are responsible to make your team look good.”

Even though the season is over, Coach Angie Francis has great things to say about her players. “I am beyond proud of our entire team for their accomplishments, but I am even more proud of the sportsmanship that they have shown this season. We had multiple compliments on our team’s attitudes and how kind they were to each other as well as to the opposing teams. This makes my heart very happy!”

Emiley Geen and Dani West senior posters (Dominick Rehkop)
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About the Contributor
Dominick Rehkop, Writer
A beginner in scratchpad. He doesn't know what he is doing, but he is trying his best. First year of this whole Scratch pad thing, so he is trying to blend in with everyone here.