Racket Magic (Centennial Tennis)
By: Alex Wallner
As the upcoming tennis season begins, questions come of how the team will do and how a new year on the court will be. The season begins on March 26th, 2012, when the Chargers travel to the Metamora Invite. The Chargers, who finished third in the Urbana sectional last year, did not make it to state and are hoping for a better outcome this season. Even though the team didn’t make it, the individual scene was different. Seniors, Daniel Lee and Akshay Krishnamani, teamed up to qualify as a doubles team and made it to state in the process.
Hopefully, Centennial’s tennis team this year will be a good one. The Chargers return six seniors from last year’s team and hope to go far come postseason. The overall experience of this team should be pretty high and with experience comes the mindset to play good, not only through the course of the regular season, but also during sectionals (IHSA tennis does not have regionals) and hopefully breaking the top three to reach state. When asked about how the season would fair overall, senior, Jeff Lazuka responded, “Well we are getting two freshmen who are going to be our top players and since we had no seniors on varsity last year we should be pretty strong.” Junior, Peter Kim also answered, “This year I really have high expectations. We have a couple really good incoming freshmen and excellent coaches. Gordon Kay is the head coach this year. He coaches LLC and I think the whole team is excited and ready for this year.” The key component to any team is chemistry, which the Chargers should have considering how many returning letter winners they have from last year’s varsity team.
Tennis is one sport the Chargers will be pretty good at for a while, considering that tennis is not only a team sport, but is an individual sport as well. Even though the team stage of Charger tennis hasn’t been as dominant as past years, they still continue to send individuals to state. Be it from the singles or doubles circuit, they seem to always find a way to get guys to state. When asked how he would do individually, Lazuka replied, “I’m hoping to play varsity doubles with Daniel Lee and if that happens make it to state.” Kim then said, “I expect to make varsity this year and hope to go to state as well. At this point in time, I’m really focusing on improving my game and practicing for the season.” Focus and perseverance are important for any sport, but for tennis especially, even when you put high expectations on yourself, it is always a good thing to train harder and harder every day over the course of the offseason.