Girls tennis opens sectional tournament against Franklin Grizzlies

Emma Red | Staff Writer

The girls tennis team opens sectional play tonight at 4:30 p.m., taking on Franklin, a team they beat 3-2 just last week to win the county title. Last year, when moved away from CG’s defeated Franklin 5-0 at the indoor facility.

  “We’ll be playing Franklin as a team during our first round, and its important that we win,” Abby Hoard ‘20 said. “A loss means we are out of the state tournament, so we’ve been having some really focused practices in preparation.”

  Previously this season, the team has placed second at both the Zionsville Invite and the MIC tournament, finishing as runner up behind No. 7 Zionsville and No. 3 Carmel.

  “Our key to success is confidence in ourselves and believing that we can win a match,” Hoard said. “You always have to take a deep breath and just remember the hard work that you’ve put in.”

  Franklin is coached by Rusty Huges, a former college tennis coach with numerous “Coach of the Year” awards under his belt. Under his guidance, Franklin has had recorded seven 5-0 wins this month alone.

  “We’ve trained really hard and prepared specifically for teams that we know will be tough to beat during the tournament,” Hoard said. “We just have to be prepared and believe in ourselves.”

  “We want a lot of momentum going forwards into these state tournaments,” Jenna Boha ’20 said. “Last year and the year before we made it to state, and since we’ve been so aware and focused on our games with Franklin, I have a positive outlook about the tournament.”

Senior ends tennis regular season, prepares for Air Force Academy

Ben Greller | Staff Writer

When senior Ellie Strube steps on the tennis court tonight for her Senior Night match against Bloomington South, it will be her final regular-season tennis competition since she’s decided not to play in college.

For the next four years, Strube, the Trojans No. 1 singles player, will be attending the United States Air Force Academy. She was recently admitted after passing an extreme physical test and showing high ability academically.

When Strube steps on campus in Colorado, she will be surrounded by mostly men. At The Air Force Academy, men make up 79 percent of the enrollment.

“I understand the difference because there is the stigma that men are more strong and they can fill more jobs,” Strube said. “I still feel like there are many things girls can do there and jobs they can fill.”

The Air Force Academy comes with many rules and structures that their cadets must adhere to. For example, cadets must wait until their first-class year to have a television in their room. They must wait until their second-class year to have most electrical appliances, but a third-class cadet may have a coffee pot.

“I guess I’ve always like a structured environment so I don’t mind knowing exactly what I am supposed to do and when I need to be places,” Strube said. “Like they tell you what to wear and I like that stuff so it won’t really bother me much because I know at the end it will be worth it.”

However, Strube has not always been interested in serving in the military.

“I would say my freshman year I didn’t want to serve in the military,” Strube said. “My dad has been in the army for 36 years and we kinda talked about it again my sophomore year and I started to think I could see myself doing that.”

After graduation from the academy, Strube will either owe five years of service or 10 years in total doing flight school. Strube is not positive which route she will go or what she will major in.

“I’ve considered serving until retirement, but we will just see how I like everything and I will decide then,” Strube said.

Strube will be graduating Center Grove as a member of the Top 20 for the class of 2019. She also played tennis at Center Grove, and if she didn’t get into The United States Air Force Academy, she would have gone on to play tennis at either Indiana Wesleyan or Wright State University.

Boys tennis opens season against perennial power Park Tudor

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Mitchell Runkle | Staff Writer 

During their first match of the year tonight, the men’s tennis team will take on a talented Park Tudor team that has advanced to state finals in all of the last seven seasons. Failing to beat Park Tudor over the previous three years, the team realizes the importance that this match holds on the rest of its season.

“After losing to them in semi-state last year and not really being that close to beating them the least few years, this would be a huge win,” No. 1 singles player Trey Thixton said. “I think it would provide the confidence that the team really needs.”

Despite the tough losses to Park Tudor in previous seasons, the team is still confident in its ability to win this match. With the team’s only graduation loss being No. 1 doubles player Eli Lawyer-Smith, the experienced team knows exactly what needs to happen in order to win.

“The most important thing is for us to come out with a lot of energy and intensity and go all-in until the very end of the match,” No. 3 singles player Mason Runkle said. “Park Tudor has always been a very good team, but we just need to trust that we finally have the talent to beat teams like them.”

One of the most difficult matches of the day will come at the No. 1 singles position. Senior Trey Thixton will battle Park Tudor’s Aidan Harris in what will certainly be a grueling match for both. IMG_0117

“I haven’t ever beaten Aidan, and I’ve been playing him since I was 12,” Thixton said. “I just need to have the confidence that I can beat him and that I belong with the top players.

With this being their first match of the season, a win over a team as talented as Park Tudor would help to set the tone for the rest of the season, giving the team the confidence they’ve been missing during the last few years.

“It would be a really amazing way to start off the season,” senior JT Embrey said. “It would really help to strengthen our mental state after the last few seasons and help us know where we stand against some of the better teams.”

 

Boys Tennis Making A Come Back

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Cameron Petty | Staff Writer

The boys tennis team is coming back from a disappointing match that ended their season last year in the first round of sectionals. Since then, they’ve been pushing themselves harder than ever to get back on track. Last year, the boys tennis team was barely ranked and this year the Indy Star has ranked them No. 5 and described as “hard to beat.”

Third year varsity starter junior Trey Thixton was optimistic about the upcoming season. “I think we’ll play to that ranking and could have a really good year all around,” Thixton said.

Confidence is considered a major key in today’s sports, as well as experience in the big matches when it counts. With last years team being so young, Thixton hopes the returning starters could help the team go deep into the state tourney.

“There are 6 [out of 7] returning varsity starters coming back this year,” said Thixton. “I feel the experience we have compared to last year will help us get further into the state tournament and get over the .500 mark on the season.” 

Confidence seems to be flowing in this year’s team and it could get them rolling even farther. Head coach Ivan Smith will be returning for his 40th season, having won 30 consecutive sectional titles from 1984-2015. With the last two seasons coming up short of sectional titles, Thixton hopes to get the Trojans back in the post-season win column.

“I feel that we’re about to take our title back, especially with the chip on our shoulder from the disappointment of the last 2 years,” said Thixton.

The boys tennis team finished with a record of 4-12 last year and have set high goals this season. With their team’s chemistry, experience and the chip on their shoulder, the team hopes to turn this year into a special season.