Seniors Olivia Lyon and Ben Gardner are The Colonel’s Athletes of the Week. Lyon is a four-year varsity girls’ tennis team member and is a co- captain this season. Gardner has been a member of the boys’ team since his junior year and currently leads a young team in a competitive ECC tennis tournament.
The Colonel sat down with Lyon and Gardner to discuss their athletic journeys.
The Colonel: How long have you been playing tennis?
OL: I’ve been playing tennis since the second grade.
BG: I joined tennis late last year and I just loved it. I have had the pleasure to play on varsity both years. Last year I played #2 varsity doubles with Brandon Donovan and this year I’m playing #1 doubles with Kevin Hutchins.
The Colonel: How has tennis impacted your high school experience?
OL: Tennis has very positively impacted my high school experience. I have gotten the opportunity to meet so many people and form so many friendships that I may not have had the opportunity to otherwise. As an underclassmen playing #1 singles, I was welcomed by the upperclassmen and grew very close to them. As a captain the last two years, I have worked hard to provide that same positive atmosphere to all members of the team.
BG: Everybody on the team is so friendly and fun to be around, including coach. It really made a positive impact [on] me.
The Colonel: How has being on a team shaped you as an individual?
OL: I love the team aspect of high school tennis. [I play] USTA [and] most matches are solely on an individual basis. Although high school tennis is also individual due to the fact that I play singles, I always feel a strong sense of belonging with everyone cheering each other on. Being a part of something greater feels good for everyone and I feel very fortunate to have been able to be a leader on our team and set a good example.
BG: I believe one of the reasons we are doing so well this year is because we are so encouraging and we really push each other.
The Colonel: What is your favorite part of the sport?
OL: I love that there is no clock, no time limit in tennis. As long as you have the patience, don’t get ahead of yourself and stay grounded you can take the match point by point.
BG: It’s one of the reasons why I want to get out of bed and go to school. I have made and strengthened so many relationships with my fellow teammates and peers. In fact a lot of my favorite moments are being with the team outside of the sport.
The Colonel: Do you hope to continue your tennis career at the collegiate level?
OL: I am attending Sacred Heart University in the fall. I would like to play Division I and I have been in contact with the varsity coach, but I may play club instead to due to my workload in the honors nursing program.
BG: I hope that I can join a tennis club in college because I would love to keep playing.
Megan Brawner, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Megan Brawner is the Editor-in-Chief of the 2015-2016 Colonel. She is the captain of the cross country team and runs Indoor and Outdoor Track. She participates in Youth United for Global Action and Awareness (YUGA) Club and is the secretary of the Senior Class. She is the Editor of Key Club. She will attend Central Connecticut State University to study Business next fall.