Advancing to the State Championship is a huge deal for student athletes, especially ones that have had the dream at their fingertips before.
It is no surprise that Ali Althans (’11) qualified for the 2009 State Championships for tennis this fall. This tournament was held at none other than the OSU courts in Columbus.
There were a total of 16 girls competing against Althans in this competition, and if that wasn’t enough to battle her nerves, the fact that she was the only mem-
ber from the Academy was plenty.
Althans explains, “Going as the only member of my team came with mixed emotions. I was so excited to make it at all, but I was also sad that I didn’t have any teammates with me.”
Althans further explains how her friends from other schools had also advanced to the State level and that made the nerves decrease for a little. Also, with the help of her coach, Ms. Cindy Smith, she was able to put mind over matter when it came to the matches.
The opportunity to compete at State level is a truly remarkable event in any high school athlete’s career. Althans states, “The experience was once in a lifetime. I never expected to make it to States in my whole high school career and to do it as a junior was so exciting. It was a new feeling to be around the best players in the state.” Althans’ enthusiasm can be contagious.
The competition and the temperature were heating up as Althans started playing. She describes, “First round I played against Emily Daw-
son. I upset her in three sets, which was unexpected. In the quarterfinals I lost to Courtney Earnest, who ended up being state runner-up.”
Althans was competing with the best of the best and was a true competitor for these talented athletes. She ended up landing 8th place which is considered remarkable.
Aside from the nerves, the new place where she competed, the awards, and the actual matches, Althans took a lot away from this experience.
She says, “The main thing I took away from the whole experience is to never give up. Throughout the whole off-season, I worked hard to make sure I could make the best of the high school season, which ended up paying off.”
Althans is a living and breathing example that hard work and determination can truly help one out in the end.
She further explains about her experience, “Many people, including myself, did not expect me to make it as far as I did. I was so happy to go above the expectations.” Being a determined tennis player, Althans defied the common belief and did what she did not think she could do.
She truly is an inspiration to all athletes and even those non-athletes who are struggling to find the inner strength to persevere in the hopes of achieving their goals. Although she did not bring home the title of State Champion, she worked as hard as one and certainly has the heart of one.