Sports around Greenville are interesting these days. On short notice for everyone, all athletic activities were temporarily suspended for the week of October 12th to October 17th due to a small spike in COVID-19 cases on campus. The fall practices are nearing an end as the weather begins to drop, but let’s get to know the two new players the women’s tennis team has picked up for this year.
Addison Brannon, the daughter of Coach Brannon, is a young freshman at the age of 17 from Alhambra, IL. Coming from a more interesting school background than most, Ms. Brannon was homeschooled, and she is now a double majoring at the university in biology and chemistry. When she is not on the court, she is also a fan of anything that involves the outdoors and animals . When it came time to decide on a college, tennis was a major influence, but Brannon also mentioned that the culture of the campus was a gravitating force in her decision to come to Greenville. To start this fall season, Brannon has been battling a foot injury for the past couple of weeks. However, she is now back on the court, and she comments, “I’m really glad to be back practicing again now!”
Brannon fits like a glove when it comes to the environment and challenges of tennis. “I’ve loved tennis since a very young age, and one of the things I love most about it is the ability to compete as an individual player, separate from your teammates.” She also mentions her passion for understanding that the pressure is on her alone on the court and handling that pressure keeps her motivated to play.
The other new player to this tennis lineup is freshman Sha Reynolds. From Springfield, IL, Reynolds is about five years into her tennis career. Although she may not have as much experience as the average collegiate tennis player, her accolades coming into college can hang with anyone. During her senior year at Rochester High School, Reynolds became the first tennis player (man or woman) to be named the All-Area Tennis Player of the Year, and she lost only one conference match. Her experience and love for tennis evolved quickly, which she said is a big thanks to her grandfather. “My grandpa plays tennis, and that’s how I started to show interest in playing tennis. Ever since I watched my grandpa play, it makes me want to play with him.” Off the court, Reynolds enjoys shopping and hanging out with friends.
So far, these girls both believe the practices are going well. One of the reasons they feel more confident than most new athletes may be because of the lack of extra COVID-19 restrictions in tennis. Brannon mentioned that “COVID restrictions haven’t really changed much about how we practice because tennis is already pretty socially-distanced.” Although things are not normal, they both plan on making big steps this fall and developing their role on the team. Busy schedules have hindered this team’s ability to get out on the court together every day, but when they do practice, Reynolds mentioned that she enjoys every minute of it. “I like to have team bonding, and I love to play and share my love for tennis with my teammates”.
Media by Seth Isringhausen.