Girls’ tennis team focused on return to states

Mar 30, 2018 by

Published in the March 30, 2018 edition.

By DAN PAWLOWSKI

WAKEFIELD — Tennis requires a unique blend of athleticism and strategy. Balance, endurance and strength combined with anticipation and planning might seem like a lot, especially if you are a high school student who just spent the day navigating all sorts of challenges and future preparation. Which is why for the WMHS girls’ tennis team, this sport is all about focus.

The Warriors are focused on improving this season and getting back to states after going 6-10 last year. Wakefield had made states the previous two years before that.

The Warriors have the senior leaders and the talent to make that happen this season.

“The seniors are great,” said Wakefield head coach Kathy Healey. “They’re all veteran players who have been on the team for a long time and they are all very promising.”

Wakefield has seven members on the varsity, comprised of five seniors and two freshman. Senior co-captain Haley Tanner is first singles, senior Olivia Dziadyk is second singles and senior co-captain Laura McGovern is third singles. Seniors Emily Roberts and Kelsey Callahan are first doubles while freshmen Hannah Guay and Erica Pecjo are second doubles. For now.

Wakefield head coach Kathy Healey encourages all members of the JV team to bring their best and challenge up to their varsity teammates, meaning the order and lineup for the Warriors might change throughout the season. It’s really an opportunity, and not just for JV players like Emma Hodzic, Ariana Margolis, Samantha MacDonald, Jocelyn Murray, Effie Koutroubis, Kelly Hourihan, Heather Owen, Sarah Margerison, Basia Holowenczak, Marisa Ogier, Julia Carino, Katelyn Kelley, Riley Porter and Meghan Lyle. It’s also an opportunity for the current varsity lineup, but only if their attitude and focus is right.

For that, coach Healey encourages her players to leave the pressures of a routine high school day behind them. The Dobbins Tennis Courts at WMHS should be a sanctuary.

“We start every practice with mindfulness yoga,” said Healey, who even brought in an instructor to practice on Thursday to guide the Warriors on their quest to decompress.

“They deal with so much stress in the high school so when they come here I want the yoga to help them destress and leave the high school behind them. It’s important to get them refocused on to tennis.”

Healey would know. In her 13th season as the girls’ tennis head coach, Healey is also a guidance counselor at Wakefield, so she spends her days advising students in the present while also helping them prepare for their future. She knows how overwhelming it can be.

Healey’s assistant coach is her father, Bill Healey, back in his 8th season as a coach at the age of 88. Kathy and Bill are the only father-daughter coaching duo in the Middlesex League. Bill, a 1947 graduate of Wakefield High School and former Harvard football player, still plays tennis with his daughter year-round. How’s that for guidance?

Yes, the Warriors are refocused for another fun and exciting season, and while they certainly have goals of improving and making it back to states, taking that first step (and maybe even a Warrior one yoga pose) to refocus, will go a long way.

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