Even though Tennis might be one of the more individual sports at MSU, the Maverick Tennis team still has to follow strict regulations in order to continue practicing. This however has not stopped them from working hard and improving collectively.
As every other team on campus, the team is required to wear masks during practice, lifting, and other team related activities. Additionally, the women are required to keep their belongings separate and practice social distancing as well as wiping down the equipment after every use.
“The plan is to play this spring!” Coach Ryan Kucera says. “We are not sure exactly what this will look like, but luckily for us, tennis is a socially distanced sport by nature, so we are categorized as low risk. As of right now, we are preparing to compete in at minimum our conference schedule this spring semester” he adds.
This is Kucera’s first time as a head coach for the MSU Tennis team. Certainly an interesting time to start this position. “I have been super impressed with the commitment of this team to not only do the right things to stay healthy and keep our Maverick community safe, but this team has bought into our program and into being the best that they can be every day” he notes.
Overall Kucera is very happy with the way the athletes have been handling these changes and hopes that these challenges and adversity will only make them stronger for the upcoming seasons.
Junior Lauren Goth is taking the challenges of working through COVID adaptations day by day. “The most changes have been more mentally focused than physical” she says. Luckily, she doesn’t have to go through the constant schedule changes and requirements on her own. “It has tested our bonds, but we have gone through everything as a team and have learned to lean on each other through changes. Our greatest support system through the changes due to COVID has been each other” Goth says.
The biggest challenge for senior captain Tyanna Washa is definitely wearing a mask while still performing at the highest level, but just as the rest of the team she understands that these requirements are necessary to be able to practice at all.
“We accept that this is the way it needs to be in order for us to have a season in the spring, that is what is the biggest motivational factor” Washa says.
It would be hard for anyone to keep up motivation throughout this time, but in true athlete nature, it is the competitiveness within them that is keeping the team going. “I am honestly excited to just play competitively. It has been since February of 2020 as the last competitive tennis that I have played. I love practice and I love hitting in general, but there is just a totally different vibe and environment to be out on the court playing to win against your opponent from a different team” Washa notes.
Goth also can not wait to finally take the court again. “We have been working hard in the off season with our new coach and have made impressive improvements,” she says.