Luetschwager, Greif named to Junior Leadership Team
Emily Luetschwager and Lukas Greif of the of Midwest Section have been named to the second USTA Junior Leadership Team, which recognizes the finest U.S. junior tennis players who exhibit leadership, sportsmanship and character on and off the court.
Luetschwager and Greif are among 32 players nationwide named to the USTA Junior Leadership Team. Each player was nominated by his or her USTA section for excellence in tennis and in the community.
“These players truly are role models who exhibit character well beyond their years, both on the tennis court and in the community,” said Bill Mountford, the USTA’s Director of Junior Tournaments. “We’re happy to have a way to give them some of the recognition they truly deserve with the USTA Junior Leadership Team.”
Luetschwager, a resident of Stevens Point, Wis., has been ranked as one of the Top 40 18-and-under junior prospects in the USTA Midwest Section, and she has won the WIAA High School Individual state singles championship each of the last two seasons, playing for Stevens Point Area High. Additionally, she has been a part of the National Honor Society for the last three years, was a 2016 AP Scholar with Honor, has helped organize children’s tennis clinics and tournaments for her high school team and received the Wisconsin Tennis Association’s Frank Parker Junior Award in 2016.
Greif, 17, from Newburgh, Ind., is one of the top tennis prospects in America and has committed to play college tennis at the University of Florida. Greif is the reigning USTA Boys’ 16s national hard court and clay court champion and has been ranked as high as No. 71 in the world junior rankings.
Each year, more than 120,000 players compete in USTA junior tournaments. Players compete in levels of competition through earned advancement in the 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s age divisions. USTA junior tournaments help kids take their game as far as they want – high school, college or pros – or just have fun competing.
In their own words...
Emily Luetschwager: I believe that tennis builds character and teaches valuable life lessons. Throughout my life, I have developed a love and enjoyment for tennis. It has developed a personality for me. I would be a much different person without having the opportunity to play tennis. For example, when I was in preschool, I was extremely shy, and I did not say a word to any of my teachers or peers. I would stay bottled up and quiet until I got home to my family. Then, I would share all the details of the day with my parents and brother.
As I grew older, I became less shy, but still my introverted personality was noticeable. Throughout years of tennis tournaments, I was obligated to converse with adults, make friends and learn the fine art of dealing with confrontation. Because of this, I have gained independence, become more social and outgoing and overall changed into a more talkative, confident, extroverted person.
Other qualities I have gained from tennis would be persistence and mental toughness. I’ve played matches that I had been losing, and I’ve had to dig deep in order to come back and win. I have lost tough matches, but instead of quitting and giving up, I put in extra practice time. This would provide me with a better opportunity to win the next time I played them. This specific instance happened this year early in the high school tennis season. I lost a match in a third-set tiebreaker that I knew I should have won. I was extremely upset after this match, but I knew I had another tough match later that day. I remained calm and went out in my next match playing to win, and I did. I know, if I didn’t have all the match experience that I did, I most likely would have lost the next match, too. Throughout my life of playing tennis, I have learned to stay determined, focus on the point and have confidence. All of these traits helped me have success throughout the rest of the season.
One last life lesson I have learned from tennis is that if you are confident and believe in yourself, you will be more successful. Even when I am having a bad day, a little bit of confidence can make it all better. Playing to win and believing you can will improve your play and the mental aspect of tennis, as well. This tennis season, I played a match that I knew was critical for me to win. Instead of cracking under pressure, I remained confident and continued to play how I had practiced. Because of my confidence I was able to win this match pretty handily and help my team win, as well.
Overall, I have learned so much from tennis. It has taught me important qualities that I know I wouldn’t have gained if I didn’t have the opportunity to play competitively the game that I love.