White, red make perfect playing partners

White%2C+red+make+perfect+playing+partners

By Tanner McCord
Sports Writer

As one grows, the need to find a comfortable place where they can fit in grows with them. There are several opportunities to recreate who you are as you transition between elementary to middle school and middle school to high school.

For some, finding this niche is a lot more difficult than for others and outside factors can largely affect where you think you may fit.

For senior Abby White, finding her place was a process, but since the day she picked up a tennis racket, she knew tennis was where she could shine, and shine she has. As a freshman in high school, White began her four year time on the Coppell varsity tennis team and just the next year was playing in the number one spot, and has held that spot for the last three years.

White began her athletic career at age 5 as a gymnast, which is as good a sport as any to start out with. Through gymnastics, she was able to develop as an athlete and her time as a gymnast has actually helped her greatly today; however after six years, she decided it was time to move on.

“I quit [gymnastics] so I needed to find a new sport,” White said. “I just started getting [tennis] and was learning how to play and really liked it.”

Although she did not play for her middle school, White’s tennis career started in sixth grade when her dad, Rex White, decided to sign her up for a tennis clinic at Brookhaven Country Club.

“She did that for three and a half years to build up her technique and skills,” Mr. White said. “She worked her way up in Texas and she’s been a super champ for the past four years.”

In Texas, most young tennis players earn their stripes through playing ZAT (Zonal Advancement Tournaments). Through ZAT tournaments, players are able to earn points and move up to the championship level. It takes 65 points to move up and winning a ZAT tournament will get you 65 points, second earns 32, semifinalists earn 16, and any other match win is worth four points and contestants can only enter one ZAT per month.

After moving to the championship level, the point process starts over, and a total of 80 points are needed to get into super championship level tournaments, where a victory earns you the title of super champ.

Abby actually came into her freshman year as a super champ before even experiencing high school tennis, her work ethic and yearning for improvement being a key part of her success in tennis.

“She’s got this desire inside that you can’t teach – it just happens to be there,” CHS tennis coach Jane Jackson said. “That is the part that makes her so successful.”

Due to her consistent super champ status, work ethic and overall love for the game of tennis, Abby has attracted the attention of several colleges including division two schools like Nebraska Omaha. The offers are there, it really just comes down to scholarship money and personal preference for Abby.

“I’m still looking, I haven’t found the right one yet,” Abby said.

However, she is sure that tennis is something that she wants to continue through college, and perhaps even as a career path as a coach.