Ready for Play

A look at the banners in the gym tells the story: the school’s tennis team has more titles than any other team here. The 2021 Rocket tennis team played well enough to have won the conference championship. This year, the team will work to further the legacy of the sport.

The 2021 tennis team only lost one conference game during the entire fall season. They came away with an all-Rocket final for the 6A Central Singles Championship. Isaiah Bordador was the conference champion, and Spartagus Wolfe earned runner-up. The team also played well at the state tournament but could not obtain the team championship. This year, the team looks to propel themselves back to the top of the 6A conference.

Bordador said, “Tennis, is the sport where mental toughness meets physical capabilities. It requires extreme precision, speed, and quick decision-making. Players only have half a second to react to oncoming balls. They are forced to make quick decisions on the fly.”

“Tennis is different from other sports,” said sophomore Aidan Bordador. “You have to be physically and mentally strong. You can’t let a bad string of points bring you down. People just do not know how much work the team puts in every day.”

The tennis team practices every day from 3:30-5:30 p.m.  The practice consists of matchplay, drills, and conditioning. Though training is often challenging, the players learn to relax and have fun. However, this does not mean the team is not working their hardest. Sophomore Richmond Terrell said, “The atmosphere at practice is a competitive yet welcoming one where we can become the best players we can be.”

Most team members have already played for years before joining signing on to the Rockets. Many of the players also compete in tennis tournaments outside the scope of high school. They also spend time during their summers practicing for the high school season. Freshman Louis Gornatti said, “I played tennis every day during the summer. I knew it would be hard to make the team.”

Most people view tennis as an individual sport, but in high school, it certainly isn’t. Long-time coach Mr. Tim Glancy said, “We watch each other play and cheer for each other. Everybody works together, and they become united for championships. Win or lose, the players will have the memories of being together, everybody together as the tradition of the brotherhood at Catholic High.”

This year, the tennis team does not have any seniors on the varsity team, with one freshman, four sophomores, and one junior making up the varsity roster. One may question how effective a younger team will be when forced to rise to the occasion. “We’ll win,” said Mr. Glancy. “Seniors aren’t always the biggest difference. It’s those who are out there on the court playing the match.”

Freshmen sometimes find it difficult fit in with their new classmates. And for new athletes, it is hard to become comfortable with a new group of people, even though there are shared interests. But at Catholic High, it is different. Gornatti said, “I love all my teammates. They’re super nice and really funny.” Even though Gornatti is only a freshman, he has already built strong bonds with his brothers, on and off the court.

The tennis team has already begun playing regular season conference games. Though they only started matches recently, the players have been preparing for years for this rare opportunity to compete at an elite high school level. “There’s something about training with my teammates every day,” said Aidan Bordador. “Sweating and playing every day creates a strong bond between all of us. Win or lose, being part of the team has been great so far.”

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