Swinging through the heat

The girls tennis team faces two tough competitors. Despite quality competition, the team also had to face something much worse; the heat.


Lanie Sanders

Senior Inge Petrie and sophomore McKenna Lenhardt celebrate after winning a point at the FHC Doubles Tournament on Friday.

Francis Howell Central’s girls tennis team hosted our very own FHC Doubles Tournament on September 13. While intensely competing so far this season, the girls did well at home, but some of the top members fell short of victory. Sophomore McKenna Lenhardt made remarks about how her and her partner, Inge Petrie, were close to semifinals.

“We won the first two [rounds] and lost the last two. We had enough wins for semi finals, but we had too many losses,” Lenhardt said. 

Lenhardt may only be a sophomore, but she already holds the sixth place varsity gold spot. Her and Petrie, who is new to our school, may not have as much tennis experience at FHC under their belts, but they have performed well so far this season. They hope that this close hiccup will be overwhelmed with loaded victories.

For other tennis teammates, the doubles tournament had similar outcomes. Senior Natalie Hall battled through the tournament with her partner Alyssa Smith. While Hall holds the fifth varsity gold spot and has proven her skills time and time again, she also only won two out of four of her matches and barely missed semifinals.

While trying to move past such close matches, the team remembers that tennis is more than a sport. It is a lifestyle that encourages communication and bonding. Senior Rachel Deason explains that the team hasn’t faced many problems with their positive personalities.

‘We’ve been pretty good about team building overall. We haven’t had many challenges. And I know the new girls are very good about, you know, getting involved with everything,” Deason said. 

Once the team finished the doubles tournament, they were able to use their practice, determination, and team connection to pull through their next meet against Fort Zumwalt East on September 16. Winning the meet 8-1, the team proved themselves worthy of success. 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t an easy win. Competition is always a concern when trying to improve your record, but battling the weather can be just as difficult. Lenhardt struggled through the heat with the rest of her team.

“It was really hot so we were all kind of sweaty and it was hard to hold the rackets and we were tired,” Lenhardt said. “[But] everyone was really positive and uplifting.”

Through heat and sticky rackets, the girls push through and compete. 

Coming up in their schedule, the girls face Troy on September 17 and Timberland on September 18. With three meets back to back, the team’s endurance will be tested. For instant updates on match results, refer to MSHSAA’s website.