SCSD Girls Tennis Returns, With Two New Home TeamsLast school year, many athletic seasons were postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, student athletes are eager to resume their sports – in person and on schedule!
“It is exciting to have sports back,” Syracuse West Girls Tennis Coach Michael Weinheimer said. “Being together as a team again is important for all student athletes. Being a part of a sports team allows for physical, social, and emotional growth. Bringing sports back safely has brought back some normalcy.”
Corcoran sophomore Josie Rioux had wanted to play tennis since she was two or three years old, when she first asked for a tennis racquet and dreamed of becoming a professional tennis player. As she watched her older sister join the Syracuse West tennis team, she saw how much fun her sister was having and wanted to follow in her footsteps.
“I was looking forward to joining the tennis team my freshman year, but the fall season got canceled due to COVID,” Josie explained. “Thankfully, a short spring season of tennis was offered and I got to start my first year of real tennis, where I played 3rd singles! This August, I was very excited when Coach Weinheimer said that practices would be starting and a normal tennis season was planned! It’s given me a sense of normalcy being able to play and socialize after such an isolating year and a half. During such crazy times, it’s good to have a place where you feel supported, and Coach Weinheimer has made that possible. We show up to tennis being able to be active, get outdoors, and socialize with kids from different schools and backgrounds, which a lot of us have missed out on during the ongoing pandemic.”
For the SCSD girls tennis teams, this year is especially exciting: Henninger and Nottingham were each able to form their own teams after hosting combined teams for several years.
Henninger senior Samarra Tigner initially joined the tennis team after being encouraged by her coach, Diane Weismore. She had previously played with her dad and enjoyed it. Now, it’s a way for her to share her school spirit.
“Having our own team means we get to represent our own school,” Samarra added. “It’s pretty cool to have our own cheer… we don’t have to bark for the Bulldogs anymore!”
“I am thrilled that Henninger Girl's Tennis is back at Henninger with our own team!” Henninger Coach Diane Weismore agreed. “The Henninger Girls' Varsity team is excited to represent their own school and practice right at home. Before, we would have to shuttle back and forth to Nottingham and practices would run with later start times due to transportation. Now the team can go directly out to courts and start practice after school. Students will benefit socially, academically, and physically from participating and representing their school. And increasing the number of students getting exposure to a lifetime sport such as tennis is important to building and sustaining our tennis program at Henninger High School. My goal for the future is to increase the interest of tennis and early exposure to the game and eventually create a junior varsity team as a feeder program so we can retain interest and talent.”
Samarra said playing tennis has taught her more than just athletic skills.
“Tennis has taught me good sportsmanship,” Samarra said. “If my opponent has a good hit or serve, I’m going to compliment her on it. I’ve also learned that I am a compassionate teammate. Tennis has made me have an even more positive outlook in life.”
Josie agreed, noting how she has seen herself develop since joining the tennis team.
“I’ve met great girls who all support one another and encourage one another as we all learn more about the sport of tennis,” she explained. “Since I’ve been on the tennis team, I’ve learned to persevere and never give up, especially when it comes to playing experienced opponents. It’s taught me to focus on the little wins like getting a good point or volley when it’s a tough match. Overall, I think tennis has made me a better person who looks at the positives in negative situations!”
Good luck to all of this year’s student athletes as they compete and continue to strive for improvement in their respective sports!