The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

An Ace for Eight Seniors!

All eight seniors smiling for a photo.

The girls tennis team celebrated their eight graduating seniors at their match against Lane Tech on Sept. 27. The Wolves fell to the champions with a final score of 6-3.

The special ceremony the athletes waited years for was attended by students, teammates, administration and families. The seniors received an incredible celebration that they will never forget.

“Some memorable moments from senior night were definitely seeing what the underclassmen did for all [of] us seniors. Seeing what they did really showed how much they look up to us and how well we get along,” senior captain Niki Manojlovic said. Manojlovic intends to join her older sisters at Carthage College, who are also playing sports there.

A senior night is not possible without the work of the underclassmen on the team. In a span of four days, the freshmen, sophomores and juniors came together to create gift baskets and signs to give to the seniors. Though it is a bittersweet moment, the underclassmen are beyond happy to celebrate the seniors but are also sad to see them leave.

“I thought it was really cool to hear the seniors talk about how much they have improved throughout their tennis careers. I’m going to miss Kat the most because she is my big sister. She’s very supportive even if we’re not doing our best,” freshman Raia Dimaculangan said.

“I really look up to Katarina and Niki because they are great players and are always so encouraging and willing to put their best effort in everything they do,” junior Kira Oleniczak said.

The seniors reflected on their time on the Niles West tennis team. From team dinners, bonding with their big and little sisters, joking around with their coaches and team-building challenges, the seniors received a variety of amazing memories that will continue for their final year at Niles West.

“My favorite memory would be all the Fun Fridays we do. The themes and dressing up and [seeing] everyone’s outfit, just seeing everyone do it is what makes it fun,” senior Holly Chleboun said. She plans on playing tennis at North Park University.

The seniors aren’t leaving with just great memories and a growing athletic ability. They have also gained skills and traits that will carry on with them throughout their lives.

“I have learned perseverance and resilience from tennis and how to work hard even when you’re losing. Everyone has bad days but you just have to learn how to play through them. I am grateful for my teammates and coaches who have become my second family, [and] I have made lifelong friends too,” senior captain Nora Schmidt said. Schmidt plans to continue playing tennis at the club level at the University of Oregon.

This year’s motto for the team is work hard, play hard. Their season is not quite over yet as they move closer towards conference and the state series. The seniors are powering through this season head-on and are guiding the underclassmen as well.

“Earlier this week, we had very focused practices to work on some important tennis tactics while playing a match. I watched many of our players demonstrating these strategies.  I am excited about our progress on the courts. Our team dynamic is sensational. Our seniors are all very different and lead in different ways. They are all role models to the newer varsity players and our JV team,” Coach Ben Grais said.

Congratulations to the graduating class on your senior night! Good luck to the Wolves on the rest of your season, and make sure to follow their progression in future matches!

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