Serving up wins

A reflection on varsity tennis’ district title


Ella Oberle

The court before an afternoon practice.

The clang of the ball hitting a racket fills the air once, twice, three times. Continuously across the court, the ball springs back and forth, creating a steady rhythm in the afternoon heat.

As the sun sets over the fall season of 2022, varsity tennis members look back at the season after earning the title of district champions.

“I felt really happy and proud of all of us,” sophomore Binadie Wickramasinghe said. “We put in a lot of work and effort through practices and games, so it was a really great moment overall.”

While the fall season officially began in late August, for tennis players the season truly begins even earlier in the summer as they prepare for placement tryouts. These tryouts determine which team the players will compete on.

“Going into tryouts this year, I was really nervous [since] last year I didn’t perform my best, so I ended up playing on JV [junior varsity],” sophomore Riley Skinner said. “Which ended up being great for me either way, but this year I was really determined to make varsity.”

Even before the season begins, students work to improve their skills by constantly practicing, much of which takes place during the summer in intense heat.

“I’ve practiced around three or four hours a week in my spare time,” senior Ethan Lam said. “So I’m pretty proud of all the progress I’ve made across the season.”

It’s that level of individual dedication that steers the team toward victory once the season begins. Members compete on Tuesdays and select Fridays of each week throughout September and October. During these games, students typically play a match of doubles (two students playing as a team against another team of two) and a match of singles (one student against another student) against a variety of different schools.

“My favorite match of the season was my doubles match against Cy-Ranch as it was my toughest match yet,” Skinner said. “We were down and almost lost, but we stayed positive and were able to come back and win.”

As every match won results in a point toward the victor’s respective school, each game during the season is equally important. At the end of the season, the school that amasses the most points wins the title of district champion. For the past three years, that title has gone to the Bridgeland varsity team. Their streak continues this year as the fall 2022 season marks the fourth consecutive year they’ve taken the title.

“I was happy and proud both this year and last year,” Wickramasinghe said. “It was also definitely different in the sense that the team had just changed so much with new players and all, but also because I felt that I personally had grown as a player since last year.”

Regardless of the year or the players on the team, much of the team’s success truly comes from the individual efforts they’ve put into the sport. For instance, when playing singles, players rely on their own skills at the moment. In that way, maintaining the correct mindset is also an essential step in reaching success.

“Just try to do what you’ve always been doing,” Lam said. “Don’t try anything different and don’t overthink, because once you overthink, you start throwing in variables that aren’t even there.”

As the season stretches through many weeks, students are offered a continuous chance to evolve and expand their abilities. This opportunity continues even after the season comes to a close.

“The next season is mostly just working on yourself,” Lam said. “So personal goals would be to sharpen my craft and fix some issues I’ve had this season.”

As the team enters the postseason, players take the lessons they’ve learned over the last few months with them into the spring season.

“Learning how to work with a team and support one another was very important in my opinion, and I think it changed me a lot,” Wickramasinghe said. “I met a lot of great people and I’m really glad I got to have that experience.”