Undefeated & close-knit

Undefeated tennis team finds unity with more than 15 wins

Julian Ingersoll, Midway Reporter

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The red and green tennis courts are scattered with players warming up in the hot fall day. Clouds are spread across the sky, keeping the direct sun from beating down on the girl’s tennis team.

Maria Shaughnessy
TIGHT-KNIT TENNIS TEAM. Senior Isabella Kellermeier sprints to the ball during a tennis match against Elgin Academy Sept. 17. U-High won the match 5-0. The girls tennis team is undefeated and players pride themselves in their welcoming team environment.

Players whip the ball at each other, and their cheers and shouts of encouragement fly across the courts faster than the balls themselves. Looked over by their coaches Dawuad Talib and Asa Townsend, the girls foster unity and team spirit, no matter what part of the team they are on and no matter what the score.

The girls tennis team has been undefeated but the success isn’t just on the courts. Much of their success according to varsity player Alexandra Nehme, is in their team spirit between teammates and coaches.

“I feel like we have a good team dynamic. If someone isn’t playing that day, they will still be there to cheer on the matches,” she said.

Coach Dawuad agrees that success come is many forms.

“If success is an octopus, it has many tentacles. One tentacle is the fact that no one is walking around thinking, from court one to court five, they’re better or they deserve more than anyone else on the team,” Coach Dawuad said.

At practice, players do more than just play tennis, but they also practice real-life skills such as communication. Coach Dawuad makes an effort to give this kind of speech at the beginning of practice to remind athletes why they are on a team and what they are there to do. Not just to win, but to be a team.

“I think out team values fun along with competitiveness,” varsity captain Isabella Kellermeier said. “On and off the court we are always having a laugh and cheering each other on, we have fun with each other, and love to compete.”

The tennis team has also gained a tennis manager senior Gabriela Gruszka.

“I’m always here to support the players and be there if they need anything whether it’s water or just to talk,” Gabriela said. “It’s been great getting to know all of the girls, so instead of managing them on a tennis level I can be their friend in a way.”

Gabriela would have played this season if it wasn’t for a wrist injury a few years back. She volunteered to be a team manager because she wanted to be a part of the team even if she couldn’t play.

Coach Dawuad appreciates this because she isn’t just a very helpful hand but a symbol of what being on a team is about.   

Varsity captain Macy Beal also does her part to keep the team together and brings in aspects to the team that she wishes she had when she was a freshman.

“The tennis team environment changes every year and each year I see it in a different way,” Macy said. “Since I am a senior and a captain, I have more responsibility to create an environment that I wanted to be in.”