Girls' Tennis Athlete of the Year
Mackenzie Kelly planned to play soccer when she arrived at Toll Gate, but she took a detour to the tennis court when a friend suggested it.
She – and the Titans – are pretty happy about that.
Kelly has been a steady contributor from the first day she came out, and this season, she climbed her way to the top of the ladder.
Along the way, she found a sport she loves.
“I just love every aspect of it – being part of a team, the actual sport,” she said. “You never know what’s coming. I love it.”
And Kelly doesn’t take the passion lightly. She started with off-season tennis lessons shortly after joining the team at Toll Gate. The lessons made her a better player and fueled her to continue improving.
“I just wanted to have as much success as I could,” she said. “I knew it would make my parents my proud, and I knew it would make me proud. Just the personal success is something I wanted to achieve.”
Kelly really saw the work pay off this year.
The Titans returned several standout players, all of comparable abilities. But in ladder matches against her teammates, Kelly just kept winning.
“Everyone understood that we had a lot of good players and that everyone had a shot,” Kelly said. “Every challenge match was intense.”
Kelly grabbed the top spot and was solid there, finishing the season with a 6-6 record. The Titans went 9-3 as a team for their fifth straight winning season.
“It was a great season,” Kelly said. “Our team was super close and we had a ton of fun.”
Kelly had some close, three-set losses that kept her from an even better record, but that will just be fuel on the fire for next season. The Titans will bring back another strong group, and Kelly may have to fend off more challenges for the top spot on the ladder.
But she’ll be up to it – and she’ll be happy to be on the court.
“I was just named a captain so I already can’t wait,” she said. “I want the team to be just as close as we were last year and we’re going to shoot for a better record.”