By: Makynlie Rockhold
When your high school career is coming to an end, all you want to be thinking about is graduation, open houses, and summer break. For three seniors on the varsity tennis team it is a little different. These girls will still have to be thinking and putting in the work after they finish school on May 17.
Kara Aardama and Ali Copeland are the two returning seniors on the Hamilton Girls Varsity Tennis Team this year. Copeland plays first singles and Aardema plays in the third singles spot. Both girls have been solid players with great mindsets throughout their seasons in the Hamilton tennis program. As co-captains this year, they are both trying their best to make the season as fun and productive as possible, and at the same time encourage others to play hard and to get the job done. Aardema likes to focus on relationships and said, “One of my goals for this season was to become closer with the girls on the tennis team and become a family! I also hope we continue to play our best in every match.”
Copeland knows the season is not done and wants to make the most of her senior season. She said, “My goals for the rest of the season are to stay focused and 100 percent committed, especially after school ends.” That attitude and focus should be beneficial to Copeland as she attempts to finish the season strong.
The team has had a great season with an overall record of eight wins and eight losses (not counting quads) this season. The girls played in conference play on Friday, May 10 at both Holland Christian High School and Holland High School. As a team Hamilton placed 4th overall in the OK green conference.
Coach Lubbers shared his thoughts on his two returning seniors and said,
“They have both grown tremendously – both in their tennis skills and mental toughness. They each have special qualities but I think they both put sports (tennis) in proper perspective – It’s still just a game. They are fun to be around and they both have a wonderful positive attitude.”
Six words Aardema and Copeland used to describe their senior season were fun, relaxed, friendly, encouraging, transformative, and enjoyable.
Alexis Berens is the third senior who plays on the varsity team. This is her second year playing tennis and her first year playing on the varsity tennis team. Berens said, “This is only my second year playing tennis so my number one goal for the season was to make the varsity team.” Berens is playing fourth doubles along with myself, Makynlie Rockhold. Berens added, “My favorite part of this season has been growing and improving with my doubles partner, Makynlie. I’ve had so much fun laughing on and off of the court with her and my teammates.” Berens has been a strong player throughout the whole season. She always has a smile on her face and she is never afraid to smack the ball. Regardless of whether she wins or loses, she always comes back fighting even harder in the next match and continues to try to make improvements.
When the team is struggling from having a rough match or just needs a little extra encouragement, these seniors step up and provide the motivation needed to improve morale, regain focus get back on track. They not only care about how they perform as individuals but also how each individual on the team performs. They are true team players.
Heading into conference play, Aardema had a record of 13 wins and 10 losses, Copeland had a record of 9 wins and 14 losses, and Alexis had a record of 11 wins and 11 losses.
As the season winds down and knowing the end will be here soon, Aardema said,
“ I’m definitely going to miss my teammates and coaches the most. Tennis is such a fun sport with great people involved!” Copeland agreed and added, “ I am going to miss Coach Lubbers and the team the most.”
The time spent building relationships has made the season extra enjoyable, but will make the end of the season more difficult. It is a given that when the season is over and the seniors move on to the next phase in life, they will remember this season, and be remembered with positive thoughts.
The Varsity team has become a family this season, they work hard, play hard, and still manage to have fun while doing it. All the girls have taken time out of their busy schedules to cheer on their teammates, go out for ice cream with the team, and also to just build relationships with each other.
As the season is winding down Aardema, Copeland, and Berens prepare themselves for the direction they will go after high school. Aardema will be attending Calvin College to study history, Copeland will be finishing her ASA at Muskegon Community College and then transfer to Kendall for industrial design, and Berens plans on attending The Salon Professional Academy to prepare for a career in cosmetology and esthiology.
The Varsity Tennis team has definitely had a year to remember, and a year to be proud of. This tennis season has been full of laughs, tears, hard work, and dedication. Every one of these girls on the team has put in the work to be able to have a good season. Sadly the team will have to say goodbye to these hard working, well loved seniors, but know that the team will continue to keep the same amount of energy for this team and for this sport.
The season has been dealt some crazy weather with many cold and windy days that have made for some interesting play. However, the memories made and relationships built have created nothing but warmth that will be shared amongst the teammates and coaches for years to come.