Baby Got Backhand!


Jason Model

Mikayla Wheeler (left) and Shannon Gibbons (right) after learning they were going to state.

The end of the fall sports season is upon us, and for the girls tennis team, this means the conclusion of a triumphant period of practices, matches, and tournaments. Many girls approached the season with a bit of trepidation after the COVID-19 pandemic, but the term was overall a successful one in the eyes of Learning Academy Instructor and Tennis Coach Jason Model.
“They handled [this season] well. They persevered, did what they had to do, played hard, and overall had a really great season,” Model says.
Gibbons also described the team] as closer than they had been in previous years.
“I’ve made a lot of new friends. These are probably people I wouldn’t have been friends with if I didn’t play tennis,” Gibbons says.
How close-knit the team became this year is a spot of pride for everyone involved in the SHS sport. However, this isn’t the only non-physical triumph from the season. Freshman Samantha Weber,credits tennis to her newfound confidence and independence.
“Tennis has impacted my life [by helping me] grow to just put myself out there and be able to work better with others […] It just helped me become more myself,” Weber says.
The sport is one that promotes teamwork and individualism simultaneously, something that is hard to find and pursue after the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on students.Yet one of the biggest achievements from this past season was the admission of seniors Mikayla Wheeler and Shannon Gibbons to the state tournaments, which took place Oct. 14, 2021.
“I definitely think qualifying for state was […] probably the biggest accomplishment this year,” Gibbons says. “It was really exciting and a fun moment to share with Mikayla.”
The girls lost after a valiant first match at state, but came home to high praises and support.
“It’s a dream of theirs […] and to be there to see it, and experience the emotions and feelings of that, is awesome,” Model says about the results of the Badger Conference.
The season ended on a high note for the girls, though many players and fans alike seem to miss it already. Tennis has provided many with a connection to others, becoming much more than a simple sports team to the players.
“It’s not just playing tennis. It’s creating a bond that’s almost like your second family,” Weber says. “Everyone supports everyone.”

Members of the girls tennis team and team manager Connor Lyons pose for a photo prior to the homecoming parade on October 1, 2021.

Mikayla Wheeler (left) and Shannon Gibbons (right) after a win at the Badger Conference