Game, set, Match

Nixa tennis team sets its sights on a conference win this season


Katelynn Gibson

Lauren Reed serves the ball.

Katelynn Gibson, Managing Editor

STORY BY: Katelynn Gibson
Managing Editor
The sun is beating down as a Nixa tennis player takes the court. The crowd is growing and more tension is building up. She gets set with her racquet, ignoring the fans and focusing in. She feels her adrenaline rushing as she gets ready to serve the ball. The racket hits the ball and it flies over the net and her opponent misses. She gets a point and the fans go wild.
The NHS Girls Tennis team has learned many different skills throughout their season. The girls are learning how to communicate with their partners and how to manage their time with tennis and school work.
Sophomore Lauren Reed has been playing tennis for a little over a year. This is her first year playing at a public school, along with other extracurriculars.
“I am most looking forward to just getting some experience, and I’ve not played on a tennis team before, so getting the experience of all the matches will be exciting,” Reed said. “Also, just getting to hang out with my team and just go to matches with them is super exciting.”
The girls’ tennis team is achieving to make the top three in conference this year. The last time they won a conference and district match was in 2015. Ozark and Republic are the team’s biggest competition at conference matches.
Coach Brock Blansit has been coaching tennis for 15 years and playing ever since he was in high school.
“It doesn’t matter what sport it is – I enjoy it,” Blansit said. “I’ve played them all at one point or another. I just enjoy competition, whether it is tennis, basketball or cross country.”
Blansit emphasized that working hard and having fun is what tennis is about.
Senior Mallory Yeary is graduating a year early, meaning she is losing a year of tennis. However, that has not discouraged her.
“We have had two matches, and this is my first year playing on varsity, so I just hope to have a good record and try to go undefeated,” Yeary said.
Although the tennis season went by quickly, the girls worked hard to improve their skills and to beat their own goals.
“Improving my game personally is a big goal of mine because I think it’s so easy to focus on being on varsity or being better than someone, but I guess my goal has changed,” Reed said. “It is to play the best I can and to better myself and better my ability.”
The team has had few restrictions related to COVID-19 safety protocols.
“Wearing a mask hasn’t affected us too much overall and in tennis you don’t have to wear a mask, especially when playing one-on-one,” Blansit said. “You are really socially distanced, so it doesn’t affect our sport maybe as much as some of the others.”