Tennis team adapts in challenging season


Jenny Than

Senior Nicolas Mejia-Beltran is the boys number one ranked player for SHS.

Arnold Angelo Aureo, Staff Writer

Despite the challenges, both the varsity and JV tennis players are showing resilience through weather challenges and more competitive opponents.

Tennis is a year-round sport with team competition in the fall and individual competition in the spring.

Players are ranked on tryouts before the school year starts. Throughout the year, they can challenge the rank immediately above them. Senior Nicolas Mejia-Beltran is currently ranked first.

“Before senior year started, I thought I was going to be number one,” he said. “But I lost a match in the tryouts, so I ended up at number two. After a few months, I challenged him again and won. I feel very relieved because I worked hard to get where I am now.”

Mejia-Beltran and sophomore Lauren Rex won first place at the mixed doubles Grapevine Varsity Tournament Feb. 11.

Sophomore Lauren Rex placed first with partner Nicolas Mejia-Beltran in the mixed doubles at the Grapevine varsity tournament. (Jenny Tran)

“It was an interesting match because our opponent was tall, and he served really strong,” Mejia-Beltran said. “Me and my partner formed a solid team, and I pretty much expected to win.”

According to Rex, this was her first time playing mixed doubles.

“It was pretty challenging to me at first, but Nic’s constant reassurance and positive mindset really helped me,” Rex said. “Aside from his confidence and positivity, he is a really good tennis player.”

Players not only work on athletic skills but also attitude and the mental side of the game. JV player junior Khalil Smith said he is improving on controlling his temper.

“Most of the players I went against trash talked a lot,” he said. “It is difficult, and I am still trying to get better at it, but I had to clear my mind and focus on winning.”

The cold weather has also added an unexpected challenge to this season. Mejia-Beltran said it was challenging at first, but they had to toughen up and resist the cold.

“It was difficult at first since we cannot move as much as compared to normal,” Mejia-Beltran said. “Once we started playing though, we started to warm up. Then we freeze again when we exit the court, and we just use our lettermans or hoodies to try and stay warm.”

Varsity player junior Kaden O´Malley won first place at singles at Rockwall-Heath Invitational Tournament.

Junior Kaden O’Malley won first in singles at the Rockwall Heath Invitational Tournament. (Jenny Than)

“It was the best tennis game I have played ever since I started playing,” O’Malley said. “Our coach is pitting us against tougher schools outside of our district, and it has been challenging but very satisfying and rewarding to win.”

According to JV player senior Kenneth Nguyen, one advantage schools outside the district have is more money for the sport.

“A lot of the opponents we have had this season can afford lessons and better training equipment,” Nguyen said. “The school only has one throwing machine, and most of the time we throw the balls ourselves.”

Despite the challenges, Nguyen said this season has been fun and amazing.

“So far, I’ve made a lot of memories this season,” Nguyen said. “I have gotten a lot closer with other players in my team. I can say with happiness that they are like my brothers and sisters.”