Never Giving Up
Never Giving Up
Never Giving Up
If you are ever facing Sophia Wiernusz in a match and find yourself with a lead, don’t get too comfortable. You can never count her out.
Wiernusz has proven that fact time and time again in her young tennis career. After graduating this past spring from Woodlynde School outside of Philadelphia, she is now a freshman on the tennis team at Curry College in Milton, Mass.
Many student-athletes take health and fitness for granted. That’s not the case with Wiernusz. In her very short time as an athlete, Wiernusz has faced physical challenges that most young, athletic, talented tennis players don’t face.
A serious concussion and a dog attack stand at the top of that list. Those incidents kept her out of school and off the court for quite some time, but didn’t keep her out altogether.
“All my life, I’ve loved tennis,” said Wiernusz, from Collegeville, Pa.
“There have been parts of tennis that have been really hard for me, and I’ve had to fight back from a few things.” “Fight back” doesn’t quite describe it.
At 12, Wiernusz was viciously attacked by a dog, experiencing more than 50 bites all over her body. The attack also resulted in a torn rotator cuff, adding to the already painful bite marks and wounds that took months to heal. A few years went by, but the injuries weren’t in the past. Wiernusz suffered a concussion that took more than a year to completely recover from. That alone would have derailed many people in athletics, and in school, as it forced Wiernusz to re-learn some basic functions and re-adjust to certain activities.
“For two weeks, all I could do was sit in a dark room,” she said. “I had to do the most basic functions, like folding laundry and sorting silverware.”
As a teenager, that’s not the simplest ask. But during her recovery, Wiernusz learned plenty about herself.
“I’m a very resilient person,” she said. “I truly believe getting through these things will help me in the long run.”
Finally back on the court, Wiernusz has competed in a number of capacities. Junior tournaments featured plenty of highlights, as she was one of the most dominant players in her high school league.
The best part?
She still isn’t close to reaching her potential. Wiernusz has untapped learning just waiting to be taken advantage of, as she doesn’t have all that many matches under her belt.
“I think I still will get a lot better, and that’s exciting,” she said. “That’s why I think I was recruited. Coaches saw some potential in me that hasn’t been developed quite yet.”
This past summer, Wiernusz enjoyed the other side of tennis by coaching at Kinetix Sports Club, working with some of the organization’s young players as they learned the game.
“If I can help people, that’s what gets me excited,” she said. “I love the adrenaline and the pressure. It reminds me a lot of tennis.”
Most players facing Wiernusz on the tennis court or interacting with her in another setting won’t understand what she’s been through. But the people she meets in the future will benefit from her perspective and her experience.
“Everyone has something they have experienced that is difficult or tough to get past,” she said. “Some of my struggles have been tough, but they are part of what makes me who I am now. I’m proud of all of it.