Athlete of the Issue: Gaby Keiderling and Girls' Tennis

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Lauren Salzman It was a typical day last Monday, September 20th when the Latin School had a tennis match at St. Ignatius. All of a sudden, senior Gaby Keiderling started singing Demi Lovato to her doubles partner, junior Eleanor Ruscetti. Their match seemed unending, so much so that Eleanor started to cry. Instead of telling her to get her act together, captain Keiderling decided to cheer Eleanor up by screaming some of Lovato’s tunes. The match took 2.5 hours. But we won. Thanks to Demi Lovato. This story about sums up the girls’ tennis team: fun, dedicated and willing to do whatever it takes. Gaby Keiderling is a fourth year varsity tennis player. As a junior, her doubles partner was Audrey Lee. This year, she is playing number one doubles with Eleanor. In contrast to past years, Gaby said, “It feels like one big team as opposed to two different teams. Although there are two different teams, it seems as if there is one unit that plays and laughs together.” In an effort to encourage cohesiveness, this year there is a pump-up-buddy system. Since it’s hard for the girls to cheer on their teammates during the matches (since most people play simultaneously), upperclassman are paired with an underclassman to “pump them up.” After you finish your match, you go and cheer on your buddy. Also, each week you give your buddy a gift. Mostly it’s chocolate…but when the gift had to be something other than food, Gaby got her buddy, freshman Summer Crown, a bracelet and a very exciting hair-tie! Or, if you are Katherine Carr, you can take everything to the next level and get your pump-up buddy, Maya Seymore, a large fluffy unicorn.  Coached by English teacher Billy Lombardo, the tennis team has had an impressive record thus far. Recently, the have beaten St. Ignatius and Parker, and came in 3rd place out of eight teams at a tournament in Rolling Meadows. Star sophomore Alessandra Bianco has not lost a match at a Latin competition so far! But regardless of your skill level, the tennis team will welcome anyone with open arms. “There are people who have never played tennis before and are winning most of their matches. Watching these girls improve is really nice to see,” Gaby said. In tennis, there is number 1 singles and doubles, then number 2 singles and doubles and so on. Gaby states that, “The hardest thing about tennis is that it’s the one sport where you are really competing for positions.” But, she has taken advantage of her leadership position and “[her] main goal is to try and find a way to make that process as stress free as possible.” For example, the buddy system brings the team together, as well as their homecoming video directed by freshman Maria Lancaster.  Gaby gave me a sneak peak into the brilliantly executed tennis team’s homecoming video to Taylor Swift’s hit song Bad Blood. As in Swift’s video, each player has a unique name. For instance, Gaby is ‘Queen of the Court.’ When asked who had the best name, Keiderling said that ‘Baby got Bad Back’ is her favorite. This belongs to freshman Annabel Edwards who has been out with a bad back the whole season. Look for this video in an upcoming gathering! Although the boys soccer team may have the most followers and the volleyball team always packs the stands for their homecoming game, don’t forget about the girls kicking butt on the tennis court.  P.S. On a personal note, I’m jealous of their uniforms!  ]]>