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Midwest / Central Indiana

Senior Shine: Central Indiana

May 19, 2020

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For many of our Central Indiana high school seniors, their final season was cut short. As our way of celebrating all of these wonderful players, we have gathered stories from across Central Indiana to celebrate our amazing class of 2020! Congratulations on a great high school tennis career, we can't wait to see what's in store next.

Grace Hall, Greenfield-Central High School

What will you miss most about high school tennis?

I will miss the amazing bonds that I make with my teammates each year along with all of the fun times.

 

What is your high school coach’s most memorable saying?

“POW!!”

 

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

To push myself beyond what I believe is possible

 

What are your hobbies outside of tennis?

I enjoy working with special needs students, hiking and diving.

 

Did you prefer singles or doubles and why?

I prefer singles. I feel like it helps me to better focus and strategize.


Claire Boyer, Peru High School

What will you miss most about high school tennis?

Coach Saine and all my teammates

 

What one item do you have to have in your tennis bag no matter what?

Pre-wrap and grapes

 

What is your high school coach’s most memorable saying?

“Unbelievable” or “defeat is in da feet”

 

What is your go-to shot on court?

Forehand down the sideline.

 

Did you prefer singles or doubles and why?

Singles, because if I want something done I have to do it myself. I’m too much of a ball hog and will hit any shot regardless of if I have a partner.

 

Do you have any superstitions on the tennis court?

I have to twist my racket 3 times before I serve.


Lydia Laker, Franklin Central High School

A note from Lydia:

Shout out to all the coaches like Coach Kumar, Coach Austin, Coach Schwartz, Coach Bertram, and Coach Butcher who have mentored me and other senior players. You are appreciated!

 

Submitted by Lydia's Coach, Steph Austin:

Lydia has been an intricate member of the Franklin Central High School Women’s Tennis Program. She began competing as the #1 singles player in 6th, 7th and 8th grades, even capping off her time leading her teammates to an undefeated season. Lydia entered high school and immediately made a contribution at the #2 singles position (behind her sister at #1 singles). She has since served her teammates as both the captain and #1 singles player in grades 10 and 11. She is a 3 year letter winner, earning multiple all-conference and all-state honors, and would have continued her senior year in the same capacity as a varsity player.

 

Her drive, determination and competitive spirit have molded the culture of Flashes Tennis. Lydia’s tenacity and high expectations were not only displayed by performance as a player, but also through her commitment to include all players as equal teammates regardless of their level of skill. This girl thrives on a challenge and is one of the most coachable individuals I have encountered as an educator. I have no doubt even the “little” interactions during her high school career have made an impact on our school community. I cannot even list each and every activity or event she has had a hand in organizing...but what I can tell you is that Lydia bleeds Flashes blue and white.

 

Lydia does not plan to play tennis in college, however she has earned a prestigious leadership scholarship to attend Butler University (Indianapolis) in the fall. She will major in Communications. We wish her all the best as she continues to move forward to pursue her dreams!


Ryan Ricks, University High School of Indiana

What will you miss most about high school tennis?

I'll miss playing with my doubles partner. Us being partners kind of defined our high school tennis career. We played a lot together—literally the week before school closed we were out on the courts before practice even started.

 

What are your plans for playing tennis after high school?

I'll likely be playing on the club tennis team in college.

 

What is your strength on the court? Weakness on the court?

I think my strength and weakness are one in the same—I tend to get really in the zone when I play. That can be helpful because I don't get distracted, but often I forget the score or to even call a ball out because I'm too focused.

 

What are you most proud of in your high school tennis career?

Winning the 1 Doubles conference championship with my partner both times we had the opportunity to.

 

What is your go-to shot on court?

A sharply-angled high backhand

 

Who is your favorite tennis player and why?

Naomi Osaka. She reminds me a lot of myself because she's very aggressive on the court but as soon as she's off the court she's really quiet and even timid.

 

What are your hobbies outside of tennis?

I like to write—I'm actually one of two editors-in-chief for our school newspaper. I also like to read, take walks, and clean.


Paige Bishop, Columbus North High School

What will you miss most about high school tennis?

I will miss my tennis friends the most!

 

What is one song that will always make you think of your high school tennis team?

Mamma Mia is one song that will always make me think about my high school tennis team. I can just imagine us playing this song in the bus on the way to tournaments!

 

What are you most proud of in your high school tennis career?

I am most proud of what the team accomplished last year, by making it to the state level of the competition as a team!

 

What are your hobbies outside of tennis?

I enjoy wakeboarding and spending time at my local airport flying small planes.

 

Did you prefer singles or doubles and why?

I prefer singles because I like to know that I am the one in charge of how the match goes in the mental and physical aspect.


Melaina Tippery, Loogootee High School

What will you miss most about high school tennis?

I'm going to miss having practice or a match almost every day of the season with my sisters. We actually call each other sisters. We look out for one another on and off the courts. They cheer me up on my bad days and make my good days even better. That's why I will miss them so much.

 

What are your plans for playing tennis after high school?

I have committed to play tennis at Hanover College, where I will also be continuing my education majoring in Kinesiology & Integrative Physiology and History. I really hope to still play with friends and family beyond college as well. It's something that's been a part of my life for over 12 years. I can't imagine stopping any time soon.

 

What is your high school coach’s most memorable saying?

I think my coach's most memorable saying is "if you hit someone with a volley or overhead, say you're sorry, but don't be afraid to do it again." He was trying to get us to be more aggressive and put our shots away at the net.

 

What is one song that will always make you think of your high school tennis team?

Definitely Apple Bottom Jeans (Low) by T-Pain. We always come up with a team playlist to play at practices and before matches and this song always seems to make it every year.

 

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

I think the best advice I have ever received was from both my high school coaches. They both told me on numerous occasions that the only thing holding me back was myself. I know what I am capable of, and I just need to go for it.


Sydney Smith, Martinsville High School

What will you miss most about high school tennis?

My team has had ups and downs drama-wise, but last year we all got really close and stayed drama free pretty much. We all were really happy too, so I’m going to miss the relationships I developed with my teammates

 

What is your high school coach’s most memorable saying?

Fake it until you make it. Having confidence whether it it real or not can get you far, and that is something that I will continue to use and remember.

 

What is your strength on the court? Weakness on the court?

A strength for me is that I put in extra work. I hit on the off-season, I worked in the weight room all year, and I did my best to stay in shape all throughout high school. A weakness would be my mental abilities. I get in my head too much and that messed up a lot of my tennis career.

 

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Stop caring about what others think about you. You’ll feel so much better about yourself if you stopped caring about how others see you.

 

Did you prefer singles or doubles and why?

Singles, I feel like the way I hit in singles was much better, and I think it made matches less complicated.

 

A note from Sydney:

My mental abilities have never been great during high school tennis, and I’ve been getting better and working on it. It is sad that I’ll never be able to prove to my coach that I can be that confident player. I just want her to be proud of how I’ve grown


Sophie Venter, Whiteland Community High School

What will you miss most about high school tennis?

My friends, and the feeling that I get in a close tennis match. I tend to try to multitask off the court, but in a tennis match I feel more present and focused than anywhere else.

 

What one item do you have to have in your tennis bag no matter what?

My sunglasses!

 

What is one song that will always make you think of your high school tennis team?

The Greatest Showman soundtrack.

 

What is your go-to shot on court?

Forehand!

 

What are your hobbies outside of tennis?

Piano, reading


Sydney Sorensen, Bishop Chatard High School

What will you miss most about high school tennis?

There are many things I will miss about high school tennis, but I will miss the team camaraderie the most. Many people think tennis is an individual sport, and while it is in many ways, high school tennis is definitely a team sport. Support and encouragement from your teammates can push you to get through a tough match and ultimately lead to a team victory.

 

What are your plans for playing tennis after high school?

After high school, I plan to play club/intramural tennis at Purdue University. While I was not able to participate in my senior season, I am grateful for the past three years and for all of the memories I made and lessons I learned.

 

What is your go-to shot on court?

My go-to shot on the court is my forehand drop shot. I was able to develop it and make it more effective over the years.

 

Who is your favorite tennis player?

Caroline Wozniacki is my favorite tennis player because she embodies various qualities such as determination, perseverance, and strength. My high school coach, Cameron Huffman, had us read an article she wrote every tennis season. She highlighted the importance of not only cherishing victory on the court, but also enjoying moments with your teammates.

 

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

It is hard to choose just one piece of advice from my coaches, so I want to share advice from each of my coaches. Rick Scotten taught me the importance of staying calm during my matches in order to effectively utilize all of my shots. P.A. Nilhagen taught me that the lessons I learn from tennis are always applicable to my life such as dedication and a positive mentality. Coach Huffman taught me to always relish special moments with my teammates, and to support and always see the best in others. And finally, Coach McNally taught me how mental toughness can determine the course of a match and lead to great success.


Anna Graves, Silver Creek High School

What are your plans for playing tennis after high school?

I am signed to play at Grace College once I  graduate from high school.

 

What are you most proud of in your high school tennis career?

I am most proud of making it to state for the individual singles player my junior year. That was an incredible experience. 

 

What is your go-to shot on court?

My go-to shot is definitely my backhand.

 

Who is your favorite tennis player?

My favorite tennis player is Roger Federer because even though he is the greatest of all time, he is incredibly humble. 

 

Did you prefer singles or doubles and why?

I prefer singles because I don't have to rely on anybody and nobody has to rely on me. 

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