Latin Girls Tennis Takes Second at State

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Bea Parr For the first time in history, the Latin’s girls’ tennis team qualified in all four categories at the state tournament on October 18th: first singles, first doubles, second singles, and second doubles. Needless to say, the girls were ecstatic. Number one singles player Lucy Mitchell reflects, “I’d say the team’s mood was pretty good leading up to State — definitely just excited.” This excitement brought a whole new level of intensity to their practices. Number two singles player Anees Goparaju recalls, “We were all super excited and anxious to play. Our practices were much more focused than a regular day, and we tried keeping the intensity up at all times.” Lucy agrees, “They [the practices] were high energy and high focus.” Lucy also points out that State brought a change in mentality — “For the first time all season, everyone had one specific role on the team, either singles or doubles, and so the practices were much more separate so that each player could work on what they needed to work on, specific to their role.” One would think that with each player spending so much time focusing on their individual goals, they would have little time to focus on the other girls on the team. This wasn’t the case; despite the stress and excitement of preparing for the competition, the girls always remembered to look out for one another. “When one person was down” Anees explains, “the rest of the team was there to pick them up. The energy was very positive, and it was like being a part of a family. We are a tight-knit group, and it’s one of the main reasons I love this team.” It wasn’t hard to see this for oneself, as Lucy recalls, “When one girl or one team would finish they would move right beside their teammates court to cheer them on. My first tournament of the season I came off and was greeted with a hug or high five from everyone.” Whether it can be credited to the high intensity practices or the supportive spirit, the team’s hard work paid off. Some days of the tournament, the girls had to be at school as early as 6:30 am. “After three days of being out for 10+ hours, it was exhausting,” Lucy admits. Competing in such an important tournament does not come without some stress. Anees says, “Playing at state was nerve wracking for me in particular because I focused so much on winning rather than having fun and enjoying myself.” Junior Emma Beier said, “The weather was pretty terrible [during the tournament]! Most days it was cold and dreary, and on Saturday, it even hailed!” Pushing through the stress and the cold, Anees Goparaju, Elaine Sarazen, Alyssa Batacheler, Lucy Mitchell, Shaya Puri, and Annabel Edwards fought hard all weekend. In a tennis tournament, schools are awarded points for every match that a singles or doubles team wins. The girls played well and won many of their matches, which put Latin in second place out of almost eighty teams. Additionally, first doubles team Annabel Edwards and Elaine Sarazen had an impressive performance and were the state runners-up. Although the tennis season is over for now, the team will continue to train and are already looking forward to next year.   “Overall, it was just such a great experience to qualify for state and play with top caliber players, knowing I was considered one of them,” said Anees.  The State tournament was a great way to end the season, and with underclassmen like Lucy, Alyssa, and Anees, along with Juniors Elaine and Shaya, it will be exciting to see what the tennis team does in the years to come. ]]>