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Rally for repairs

Katie VandeWyngearde ’24
Girls’ Varsity tennis poses on the cracked tennis court after winning against Berkley High School.

As the girl’s high school tennis season swings into action, players and coaches face more than just competition on the court. Beyond their components, there is an issue: the deteriorating state of the tennis courts. With uneven surfaces, cracks widening and safety concerns evolving, there is an urge for renovation.

Varsity Tennis Captain Maeve Hix ’24 said she notices the poor conditions of the courts, especially while playing in a match. She said she feels there have been moments where the ball hits a dead spot and caused unfair results in the game.

“I just think that the courts not only affect the team but also the community,” Hix said. “So many people use them and they are in really awful condition. I’m honestly disappointed they haven’t been fixed yet.”

South Athletic Director Andrew Rishmawi said the plan for the resurfacing will take place this summer so it is ready for the boys this upcoming fall.

“Although there is never an ideal time to get it done, it’s absolutely necessary to do so ,” Rishmawi said.“With the boys season in the fall and the girls season in the spring, summer is the best option.”

Rishmawi said he is aware of the price it’ll take to get done but is confident that this is the right decision as he has heard of numerous complaints from coaches, players and parents.

“We are not exactly sure on how the money will be split, but I know the district and the city are both putting in money to go towards this large project,” Rishmawi said.

Similar to Rishmawi, Girls Varsity Tennis Coach Mark Sobieralski said he feels the renovation of the courts is crucial. However, Sobieralski has a different outlook on how the issue should be approached, stating it would be ideal to gain private funds to make a complete and long-lasting replacement.

“I believe that, if the courts were at the high school, they would’ve been done a long time ago,” Sobieralski said. “Also, the city and the school district agreed to patch the courts for $100,000. I think it’s a waste of money. You can spend $100,000 to patch holes that you can put a shoe in, but in two years, all the cracks will be back and you’re gonna have dead spots everywhere. They’ve got to be dug out and done the right way.”

Compared to the other schools that the team plays, Sobieralski said South’s courts are in the worst condition. He said the court’s conditions pose significant problems that impact gameplay and endanger athletes.

“We run numerous quads and tournaments at these courts; regionals are run at these courts,” Sobieralski said. “Right now, there’s two courts we can’t even use. It’s really embarrassing. The courts not only give bad bounces, but people can get hurt.”

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Katie VandeWyngearde ’24
Writing has always been a passion of Katie VandeWyngearde’s ’24, and she joined the Tower specifically to embrace it—where better to do that on the school paper? “A lot of my classes are science or math-related, so taking this class felt like a fun way to end my senior year rather than taking a traditional English class,” VandeWyngearde said. As a captain of the field hockey team, VandeWyngearde clearly has what it takes to lead people in the right direction this year and she said she hopes to fine-tune her own writing abilities while assisting others as a copy editor on staff. “I'm excited to create stories that will reach an audience that goes beyond just the classroom,” VandeWyngearde said.

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