WILLIAMSTON, Mich. — The Williamston girls varsity tennis team is gearing up for a big game on Thursday: the state championship.
Williamston seniors Kennedy Carson and Lauren Kersten got to have a full circle moment.
“In middle school, we were like partners, sixth, seventh and eighth grade," Carson said. "Then ninth grade, we were on four doubles. So it's cool that we came back our senior year to be partners again.”
Not only with each other, but also their coach, Karen Battist.
“In 2016, I was the first coach for the middle school program. We had a middle school program that took off," Battist said. ”This is my fifth season coaching boys and girls varsity.”
Seniors Carly Clos and Kenzie Miklojcik said they practice every day.
“We have our matches and stuff during the week and our coaches help out and watch what we're doing while we're playing and then when we kind of group together again, for practices or coaches are able to be like, alright, this is what we were kind of messing up on,” Miklojcik said,
Cold or hot, they work together as a team.
“Very hot days," Miklojcik said. "Some very cold days. We've played in snow. We had 13 hour tennis tournament, and it was like 35 degrees.”
“I tried to teach that it's a family, and that if we all work together, there's no I in team and we will do great things,” Battist said.
But it hasn't been an easy season. Carson and Kersten had to sit out of the regional tournament due to COVID.
“COVID has not been easy," Miklojcik said. “Our one doubles was out. So that like, that took a lot.”
And Battist had to leave early after she got a call that her father had suddenly passed away.
“They showed up and they put forward their best effort," Battist said. "There's no failure if you try.”
That's when the girls knew they had to push even harder.
“It was really like every last game counted," Miklojcik said.
"So a lot of pressure,” Clos said.
They ended up placing second, qualifying them for the state championship tournament.
“I danced in my room, because I was still like, in quarantine," Kersten said.
“We were so excited," Clos said.
Giving the seniors one more chance.
“It's exciting," Clos said. "I've been saying that a lot, but I'm like, really proud of all of us."
"It's a very bittersweet moment, because this is, I'd say the most exciting season we've had in high school for sure,” Miklojcik said.
Battist said they're up against some tough competition.
“It's very hard to compete against the private schools because they practice year round," Battist said. "They have facilities and most of the kids play year round. Our kids don't play year round.”
But the girls say they're ready for one more tournament as a team.
“We're going to end well, because we love this team so much, and it was the best thing we've ever had,” Kersten said.
The girls varsity tennis team will play on Thursday in Midland with a bye their first round. They play Forest Hills Eastern their second.
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