Trinity Hall just kept swimming.
Well, proverbially, of course.
A renowned swimmer for the Lansing High girls’ team, Hall has also developed quite the portfolio as a tennis player in just two years on the hardcourt.
Quietly and confidently, the junior continued to improve her game. This fall, her game reached a crescendo when she went 16-10 overall as the Lions’ top singles player and found herself at the Class 5A state finals last weekend.
All she did was finish in 12th place to medal.
With a 4-4 record in doubles, it adds up to Hall being chosen as the 2017 Leavenworth Times’ Girls’ Tennis Select Player of the Year.
“She is in only her second year of tennis but has made a big impact with her results at state,” Lansing High head coach Edward Fenton said. “She is a dual-sport threat and has to split time between swimming and tennis so the fact that she’s now a state medal winner in both disciplines is very unique. It’s pretty rare to have someone who plays two individual sports medal at state in both.”
It is an accomplishment Hall saw happening as her first year in tennis was closing.
“I would say right after I finished up last season is where it all fell into place,” Hall said. “I knew that with all the varsity members leaving I'd have to work harder to compete with the girls that were more experienced than me. I'd say it was the training with KU, working with George Morton, and coach Fenton’s advice and extra pointers that really helped with the results of this season.
“The support from my family and the bond I had with my teammates also made this season great and I'm grateful for them all.”
The lesser expectations for the team – having lost an entire varsity lineup – motivated Hall.
“It was definitely fuel for me because I wanted to be competitive and I've never been a huge fan of losing,” Hall said. “A lot of my goals this season were inspired by last year’s varsity because they were great athletes, teammates and role models.
“I focused a lot on the defensive side and utilizing my athletic skills I had prior to playing this season. Coach Fenton also helped me with shots that were new to me. However, I still have a lot to learn.
“State was an amazing experience both on and off the court. My teammates and I made so many new memories and we grew even more as a whole. When it came to actually playing, I played harder than I ever thought possible. I was honestly shocked when I medaled. I never thought I'd make it to state, let alone medal. Now that it's over I'm going to work even harder because I know what to improve on now and I have an idea on what the competition will be like next year, especially after watching many other girls from places we usually don't compete with.”
So what was her secret to making such an impact so soon?
“From playing many sports, I learned that defense can be the key to winning games,” Hall said. “I've also learned that forcing shots can cause unforced errors, which I could use to my advantage. Coach also gave me advice that I'll always remember in life and in tennis. He taught me that if you get the ball back in play, you're still in the game.”
THE SELECT TEAM
Samantha Casmus, freshman, Leavenworth: The Pioneer newbie was one-half of the doubles team – along with Alexis Cole – that went 17-6 and won a regional title for the first time in school history.
“She is a great addition to the team who always wants to just play tennis,” LVHS head coach Shad Langfoss said.
Alexis Cole, junior, Leavenworth: Playing in only her second season, Cole went 17-6 in doubles, playing the majority of her season with Casmus as she made it to state in consecutive campaigns.
“She was playing doubles for the majority of the year, but her singles record was 5-1,” Langfoss said. “She is a great student/athlete that other girls look up to.”
Mirinda Lowery, junior, Lansing: Teaming with Darby Mance, Lowery went 9-16 at No. 1 doubles and won two singles matches for the Lions.
“Darby and Mirinda worked really hard in the offseason and spent the early part of the year trying to find their style of play that fit them as a team,” Fenton said. “As the season progressed they began to feel more comfortable and improved with each match.”
Darby Mance, junior, Lansing: Mance added a 2-3 singles record this year while also spending most of her time with Lowery in doubles.
The pair made it to the Class 5A state tournament, winning a match in the process.
“The last couple weeks of the season saw them play their best tennis, reaching the semifinals of regionals which qualified them for state,” Fenton said. “At state they were within a 9-7 loss of making it to day two which would have guaranteed a medal.”