Dedicated Loy Norrix Tennis Player Makes it to States

reedcrocker
Crocker awaits his opponent to return the ball after his serve at the meet against Kalamazoo Central. This game was rained out. Photo Credit, Isaiah Hobson

Twenty-three wins, four losses, this year’s record for Loy Norrix’s star tennis player, Reed Crocker shows his abundance of skill and promising future. Crocker had a stellar season, and performed phenomenally at regionals, a tennis tournament where players in the same general area compete with each other in hopes of making it to finals and advancing on to states. Crocker was the only player from Loy Norrix to advance from regionals onto states, making it all the way to the quarter finals.

Over the course of three years playing varsity tennis for Loy Norrix, Crocker’s cumulative record is a whopping 87-8. Crocker has advanced to states every season and made it to state finals his freshman year. He’s also reached the quarter finals in the last two years.

His journey playing tennis began at the age of three, playing at Kalamazoo’s Country Club because, in his words, “I liked using my hands.”

At six, Crocker began practicing at West Hills athletic club. Then at seven, Bill Jenkins, the LN varsity tennis coach took Crocker under his wing. This was also the age when Crocker began participating in tennis tournaments. It’s safe to say that Crocker has almost always had a racket in his hands.

One thing is clear, tennis is not merely a game to this high school student. The young athlete claims that tennis has helped prepare him for life as far as making decisions and working hard. Crocker credits his older brother for really getting him into a good tennis routine.  

“He really got me working hard and got me to have a real schedule where, yes it was hard, but it helped me to improve every single week,” said Crocker

Crocker’s older brother is a Loy Norrix alumni who also played varsity tennis, with a jaw dropping cumulative record of 109-11 and winning three state championships over his high school career as a Knight. Crocker’s brother also went on to play at the University of Michigan for his collegiate years. This is a possible road for Crocker as well, with the University of Michigan being one of the many schools scouting him for tennis.

Even though the seventeen year old prodigy enjoys playing tennis, it’s also comes with a boatload of stress. Crocker misses lots of school in order to compete in tennis tournaments across the nation, resulting in limited class time and a vast amount of makeup work. However even with being away from school for elongated periods of time, he still manages to maintain a 4.05 GPA. His scholar athlete award has been more than well earned.

Crocker carries a big weight on his shoulders, seeing as he represents the LN tennis team. However, Bill Jenkins, the tennis team coach certainly believes Crocker is representing Loy Norrix well.

“He is a leader without meaning to be,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins and Crocker have worked on tennis together for ten years and created an inseparable coach and player bond through this time.

When asked what was Jenkins’ favorite memory with Crocker, he responded, “The overall experience with Reed is gonna stay with me for my life. I’ve seen him so often, for so many hours, so many days, for so many years. Ten years, that it’s a blanket of memories that drapes over me and all extremely positive, and all of which I cherish deeply.”

While Crocker has definitely improved over the years, Jenkins said, “He was always very naturally skilled at tennis and as an athlete.”

The other varsity tennis players hold Reed in high regards as well. Senior Carter Eisenbach, varsity tennis player at Loy Norrix, was questioned on his first impression of Crocker versus his impression of him now.

Eisenbach said, “First I was like ‘Wow! This guy looks like a chump who thinks he’s all good.’ Now I’m like ‘He is good and he’s also nice.’”

Eisenbach now refers to Reed as “the rock of the team.” While Crocker is the rock of the team that everyone looks up to, he still has a fun side to him that likes to joke around. Eisenbach continued, “We always joke around until coach yells at us.”  

Sophomore varsity tennis player Tieran Rafferty can back up Eisenbach statements. Tieran refers to Reed as “a leader” who “makes it fun.” When asked what his initial impression of Reed was, he explained that his first thoughts were.

“He’s gonna be a good mentor for me, someone to look up to while playing tennis,” Rafferty said.

Even with all the highs and lows yet to come, the future is looking bright for Crocker and the LN tennis team.

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