Girls tennis returns as a younger squad

Team creates connections with younger, renames LT invite

Julia Ludden, Reporter

With the team losing their top seniors last year, girls tennis has a very different dynamic this season. Last year the varsity team included nine seniors, but now the number has dropped to five. The only members who made it to state last year were seniors, so the team is working hard to accommodate this change. 

“I am looking forward to what some of our younger players are able to bring to the program,” varsity head coach David Robare said. “I think the experience we gain this year will be really valuable for the upcoming years.” 

Returning varsity player Maggie Aylesworth ‘23 believes that the gaining of new underclassmen teammates has inspired the team to try more bonding activities, in hopes of connecting the group.

“We have a lot of girls of different ages, mostly new younger ones,” Aylesworth said. “We are doing a lot of pasta parties, and different activities to get to know each other.”

With the loss of valuable players from the previous season, filling those shoes can be demanding, Anna Hudson ‘23 said. Even with this added stress the team is continuously connecting. 

“We want to include everyone to have a good team environment this year,” Hudson said. 

Although the team is working on inclusivity, being one of the younger members has its ups and downs, Vivian Kittridge ‘25 said. She knows that she has to continue to work hard for her varsity spot. 

“I am really grateful for my spot,” Kitridge said. “I definitely have to work for it, but I like it here and I feel like I fit in.” 

With the start of the season, the team has many tournaments to look forward to including the recently re-named Whammer Quad, an LT invitational, Robare said. The quad was renamed in honor of one of LT’s coaches, Bill Wham, who passed away on May 7, 2021. 

“Bill Wham was a coach for the better part of three decades,” Robare said. “I think it is a nice tribute to his legacy and what he meant to the program.” 

Hudson, who had Wham as a coach, remembers him as a very prominent figure in the tennis community, and a tennis role model. 

“Wham was the sweetest person ever, everyone loved him,” Hudson said. “He was also very wise in a team business way.” 

On Sept. 17 LT hosted the Whammer quad. Edwardsville, Neuqua Valley and Hinsdale Central all partook in the meet, Robare said. LT was able to defeat Neuqua Valley High School in a 3-2 win, when previously the team had lost to them on Aug. 22.

“He was my coach and obviously a dear friend, so we  are excited to host a very strong quad,” Robare said. “This quad was one he particularly enjoyed.”