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West Girls’ Tennis Takes on the Grand Traverse Resort Mini Camp

The girls’ tennis team gets an early start to prepare for tryouts and the season ahead
Photo Courtesy: Grand Traverse Resort Facebook Page

  Girls tennis is on the rise for the 2024 season, and they are coming in hot with a variety of skilled players. With a huge amount of new players and lots of freshmen, the size of the girls’ tennis program at West has nearly doubled since last year, and many of them are working hard to prepare for the upcoming season. With that, many of the girls are taking advantage of opportunities within the community to improve their game. One event, in particular, brought a significant amount of West girls that usually doesn’t attract many players from the team — the intense 2024 Grand Traverse Resort Girls Mini Camp. As the camp took place from March 1 through March 3, the laborious event was a great way for the girls to get some playing time right before their school season started. 

  “I wanted to prepare myself for the season one last time and play with people I’m going to play against during the season and see where everyone was and get new coaching from different coaches,” senior Mia Hoffman said, “I did it for more experience.” 

  While many girls said the camp was an effective way to get ready for tryouts, the camp was not easy. While it was possible to sign up for just one or two days, many girls participated in the entirety of the camp, which consisted of three hours of drills on Friday night from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. to kick off the weekend; a vigorous 11-hour day on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. That included several hours of cardio tennis, skill-enhancing drills, a “tower climb” where the girls had to walk/run up all 19 flights of stairs inside the resort, guest speakers from different tennis programs around Michigan and more. Then, there was another three hours on Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. of straight matchplay. Many girls report that Sunday was the hardest day of camp, partially because of the physical aspect, but also the mental aspect. 

  “The matchplay was scary because you were put on a random team, you don’t know a lot of the girls, you don’t know who you’re playing against, and playing against girls you’ve never played before was probably the scariest part,” sophomore Lucy Jones said. 

  Several girls who attended the camp also communicated that the weekend as a whole got pretty exhausting in many ways. The days were long and the physical work was tough, so playing different level players was draining for many participants. Anxiety lingered among many of the girls throughout the camp, but some argue that people who play tennis are especially good at tackling the mental toughness that comes with the sport. One player in particular, senior Calli Hathaway, shared her secret on how she survived the camp, despite the hardships. 

  “I tell myself to just represent myself with confidence and not to show any scared attitude of myself. It helps me do better if I just pretend to be better than I am,” Hathaway said. “If you are confident, you can just pretend you’re better than you are and sometimes it works.”

  While the camp is deemed one of the most challenging camps in Traverse City for girls’ tennis, it is once again, an exceptional way to prepare for the season. There are so many remarkable players that attend this camp, and it can be intimidating to some girls, but it is important to note that the camp is not just offered to experienced tennis players. 

  “I definitely would [recommend this camp] even if you are a newer player. You get so much help, and they really put you in groups that are in your skill level and I definitely will be doing it again next year,” sophomore Sophia Nowak said. 

  Coaches and players are hopeful that the girls on the West tennis team will continue to put in hard work and carry on with events like this. West coaches say that they were especially pleased with the amount of girls that showed up for the camp and hope to see a similar turnout in the future. Out of roughly 30 girls who attended the camp from Central, Elk Rapids and St. Francis, West took about a third of that population with 11 girls who participated. While 11 doesn’t seem like that many to some, it is impressive for the West girls’ tennis team because this specific camp hasn’t gotten many West participants in previous years. With that being said, the girls’ mini camp this year has shown that lots of girls from the West team are putting in the work and improving dramatically. Yes, it can be scary for some players to participate in events like this, but there is lots of hope for an amazing tennis season considering the number of girls that went to the Resort mini camp and performed exceptionally. 

  “Put yourself out there and go play even if you haven’t played before, it is a good experience,” Jones said.

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About the Contributors
Ashley Beeler
Ashley Beeler, Photographer
Ashley Beeler is a senior and is taking Newspaper for the first time this year. She is taking Newspaper because she wants to get more experience with life skills. In her free time she enjoys playing tennis, hanging out with family and friends, and spending time out on the water. 
Solè Demeuse
Solè Demeuse, Section Editor, Social Media Specialist
Solè Demeuse is a Junior in her first year of newspaper. She decided to take this class this year to pursue her interest in journalism and get a head start in it for college because at this time that is her preferred study. Solè is currently a reporter for the newspaper, working on writing new and exciting stories for the school to read about. Outside of school, she enjoys playing tennis and hanging out with friends and family.

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