Senior dynamic duo dominate central league leading team to undefeated record

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By Akshita Joshi, Staff Reporter

Through tennis games, team dinners and challenging high school courses, seniors Leena Kwak and Ananya Krishnan have strengthened their bond as friends and led the varsity girls’ tennis team to success this year as co-captains. 

Krishnan and Kwak first met in the middle school locker room when they were both new to the school, and since then, their friendship has taken off.

“That awkward conversation truly started the friendship to be honest. Now, me and Leena are like sisters. We spend so much time together it is honestly scary to the point where I get sick of her sometimes,” Krishnan said.

From the start, Kwak and Krishnan have prioritized tennis over other activities and are currently ranked 16th and 12th in the state respectively. Along with maintaining varsity positions on the tennis team since freshman year, they have competed for the first and second spots on varsity for the past three years.

“There definitely is an element of friendly competition between the two of us since we are always competing for the two top spots, but it only helps us to push each other to be better tennis players and have better sportsmanship,” Kwak said. No matter the outcome of any match, we know that our friendship is more important. We are able to leave the competition on the court after every game and support each other no matter what.”

While this competitive nature is a major pillar of Kwak and Krishnan’s friendship, the constant reminder of striving to become the best creates mental setbacks for the two.

“It definitely takes a toll on my mental health sometimes. I get really anxious before matches and can feel it when I play as my strokes are very stiff and I can’t move really well. But Leena is always so positive. On the court she will always check up on me in these situations (because) she knows when I’m sad or upset before I know I am,” Krishnan said.

Despite occasional personal drawbacks, as captains, the duo continues to extend their bond to the rest of the team. Already, Kwak and Krishnan have fulfilled their hopes of bringing their team to the Central League championship as an undefeated team.

“At practice (Ananya and I) try to be very welcoming to the new members and encourage all other members to remind them of their value to the team no matter what level. That bond as captains with the amazing support from coach Britt has let our team grow together and actually see the outcome of our practices this season being undefeated,” Kwak said.

Sophomore Coco Lucarelli shares her experience of joining the team as a sophomore and how she was welcomed warmly to the team by the duo.

“Their leadership has definitely had a positive impact on the team’s success. They motivate everyone to try their best and are always prepared for matches and other team-bonding events,” Lucarelli said.

 Coach Aimone Britt recognizes their bond and impact as captains on this year’s season so far.

“I strive to create a culture where respect, kindness, humility and grace are values that are embodied by every player on the team, day in and day out. Leena and Ananya with the two other captains do a phenomenal job of embodying this culture and spreading it throughout the team,” Aimone said. “There is never a time during play that you can’t hear them cheering each other on in between points. I am incredibly proud of them.”


Akshita Joshi can be reached at [email protected]