Tennis teams swing into spring season

THE JETS FIRST MATCH will be in Wichita against McPherson this Sunday. Courtesy Photo, Newman Athletics

The Newman tennis season is in full swing. The women swept their first tournament last weekend and the men will join them in play on Sunday.

Players and coaches said that on the women’s side this could be one of the most successful seasons they have had in recent years because of the improved resources and the players’ genuine love for the sport.

Shella Augspurger, the Newman director of tennis, said that part of the success the tennis teams have had this year is due to the players’ genuine love for the sport.

“I have a lot of young players that just love tennis and they just want to win. I think that’s what motivates them,” she said. “With an individual sport, they win their court and it is just all them. Whatever anyone else is doing doesn’t affect them; they have to focus on what they are doing overall.”

Sophomore Niamh Packer said the teams have prepared for this new semester of matches with great determination and a deep-set work ethic.

“So far this year we have all worked so hard on the court and in the gym, which has made us stronger and better competitors, but I think the major contribution to our success is all of our desire and will to win,” she said. “We know we can have a great season and none of us can stand to lose, and that alone is the greatest trait any athlete can have.”

Augspurger said it is not just about tennis. It is about using tennis as a way to make the players better people too.

“We can teach them things and take them out of zones that they are not used to, out of their comfort zone. They need to learn how to be uncomfortable, so that they can say ‘Wow. Look what I did,’ in school and off the court,” she said. “It’s the same thing with classes. They take a hard class and feel like they should give up, but no. They need to go after it. I think that’s mostly what we do here.”

Through his two years as a student athlete at Newman, senior Lucas Norbiato said that he has developed a method to keep both tennis and school work as his main priorities. 

“It is quite hard to balance tennis and academics, especially during the season. First of all, I try to take the hardest classes during the fall, so I can have an easier schedule during the spring,” he said. “Second, time management is key to balance sports and academics. I try my best not to procrastinate and use my time as smart as I can. Also, I am always using travel time to study, which saves me a lot of time.”

Augspurger said that with the changes in the McPherson program she is unsure what to expect, but she is optimistic about what these future matches hold for her teams.

“They have a new coach, so I am not sure how they will be this year, but I think we can be pretty strong,” she said. “Because they are so close, it’s like having friends, but we still want to beat them.”

Junior Emily Wise is hoping to repeat her wins from previous seasons.

“We have always done really well against McPherson, so I think we will reiterate that when we play them on Sunday and hopefully win.”

The teams are back in action against McPherson on Sunday at West Genesis in Wichita.

This story first appeared in the February 8, 2018 issue of The Vantage.