Senior tennis players plan to leave legacy

Jacob Smith

Seniors have a lot on their plates from heftier school workloads, to more demanding and in-depth classes, higher expectation from coaches, to even full-time jobs. But for three seniors on the women’s tennis team the demands on their time are even more excessive.

 After earning a doubles victory in the first and only home tournament this semester, Lauren Pineda, a senior double majoring in nursing and sociology, said, “Having senior level nursing school classes together with tennis is definitely a struggle. Starting this semester, it being my senior year, I am taking 15 hours, nine in nursing and six in sociology. While everyone else is tired and trying to sleep on our six to nine hour bus rides, I’m there with my little bus light trying to study for exams.”

Having such a busy lifestyle doesn’t exclude these girls from their roles as senior leaders on the tennis team though. Being in that position brings about more responsibilities and their job is to take on those challenges and push their team toward victory.

 “We have huge responsibilities as seniors to make sure everyone else is doing what they need to be doing”. Pineda said. “That’s just the assumed role as a senior. Every senior that we have had before have always been that to us.”

 These responsibilities include their personal influence with the other girls on their team.

 “We have three new girls on our team this year”, Pineda said. “As upperclassmen we have to make sure that they are staying on track. It’s our job to hold each other accountable. It’s something that we all have to own up to.”

 While winning does motivate these girls to succeed their main goal is not just for the team’s success but the team itself as a whole as well. Their teammates need leadership examples in every aspect of life including off the court.

 “Our main job is to be a good role model,“ Maddie Schorlemmer a senior in psychology  who also received a doubles victory in the home tournament. said. “Ever since I was a freshman I have always wanted to be in a leadership position, so this year it’s exciting for me.”

 The role models the senior girls are is more than being a good tennis player. Their teammates see them throughout their day to day lives and it’s important to set a good example in that context as well.

 “It’s important both on and off the court. It’s difficult to listen and respect someone on the tennis court if you know they aren’t having integrity off the court.”

 However extensive their responsibilities are off the court it is important for their team to be prepared for tournament play too. Their presence and work ethic on the field can’t be affected or diminish.

 “My main goal is to get my team ready. Ready for everyday practice, everyday weight training, everything. In my perspective we have to always strive to do better than the week before. It’s about continuous growth.”

 The Home Game

With all these factors playing a part in their senior years, producing championship level tennis skills can be a task, but the importance of winning off the court can be proven by the fact that it lends itself to winning on the court. This can be seen in the results from the first and only home tournament of this semester. On Sept. 18-19 the entire tennis team achieved six titles.

In flight 1 doubles, senior Maddie Schorlemmer and junior Abby White received a doubles title for the Mustangs on the weekend, going 3-0 with an 8-7 win over Tyler Junior College’s Tereza Klocova and Michelle Walker.

 Pineda and fellow senior teammate Nochowicz were victorious in doubles as well. The veteran duo swept pool A in the flight 4 draw. After that they managed to defeat a UTPB team, 8-3, to finish the weekend a perfect 4-0.

 Winning championships brings a sense of excitement and accomplishment for the girls, but this being their senior year, it comes with other emotions.

 “It’s bittersweet”, Pineda said. “We’ve been through four years in this program and I can’t believe I’m almost done. I’m going to miss the competition and the camaraderie. No matter what you can always play for your teammates and that’s the best feeling in the world.”

 Senior year also provides incentive and determination for setting a legacy to follow.

 “It is my last year so why not have a great one?”Schorlemmer said. “Every single year we have the same goal and it’s to be the best team in the nation. Last year we made history by going further in our conference by getting into the Elite Eight in Nationals, but if we are just content with that than we are never going to get better. This year why not go past that?