Girls Tennis Sets the Bar High


Prestige Portraits

Not all sports receive equal recognition for their efforts, and the girls tennis is surely one of them. Although it is not the most popular program in Cherokee, the difficulty of the sport is not to be understated.  In Cherokee, the girls team faces these challenges head on with strength and determination, with the help of their captains.  Led by senior captain Veda Lin, along with three co-captains senior Heather Kwak, and juniors Katie DeLia and Kaitlyn McVeigh, the team has a solid foundation for improvement. These four lead the rest of the sixteen members, nine total players on the varsity team and eleven members on the junior varsity team.  The varsity team consists of the top three singles players, and then three doubles pairs, while the junior varsity team consists only of five doubles pairs.  The varsity team’s combined efforts have resulted to date in a record of 7 wins to 6 losses.

The Cherokee Girls Tennis Team, however, values more than just the sport itself.  Rather, the highlight of the girls tennis team is the sense of family and support, according to the captains.  Lin has been playing on the team for all four years, and comments that tennis is “rewarding because…I feel close with my team and coaches.  They’re like family.” McVeigh, a member of the first doubles pair in the varsity team, credits the coaches, saying “Coach Haney and Coach Fynan are the most kind-hearted, accepting, [and] friendly coaches I have ever encountered.”  Previously, McVeigh was part of a travel A soccer team, but enjoys tennis more because she “believe[s] tennis in an overall more peaceful sport, since you do not have to hear coaches and parents yelling during your games.”    McVeigh’s doubles partner, DeLia, has also transitioned from soccer to tennis and mentions a unique attribute about the sport: “I’m able to continue playing at any age.”  Becoming a varsity player is no easy task, as it requires endless hours of dedication.  Junior Aykys Salchak says that “as a freshman…I started out as being the very last doubles player in junior varsity and I always thought I was never good enough….But, after sophomore year I picked myself up and began practicing every week….My hard work and dedication allowed me to land a post on as second doubles in varsity.”  All of these Lady Chiefs’ experiences have attributed to the success of the girls team as a ethical and fair team who truly act like a family.

Despite the success of the tennis team, many in Cherokee fail to acknowledge the team.  DeLia mentions that “so many people are surprised when I tell them I play tennis.”  These girls deserve more credit for their hard work, just like those in any other sport.  With this in mind, the girls strive to outdo their previous performances.  Just like the monumental tennis player Arthur Ashe, a three-time Grand Slam winner, once said “You are never playing an opponent.  You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your goals, that is real joy.”