Loy Norrix Tennis makes history with the most successful team in more than 25 years

Zach Eldred, Sports Team

Every great sports team is able to make it out of a dry spell no matter how long it lasts. 

In 2020 the Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 50 years and in 2016, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series since 1908. This was the case for this year’s Loy Norrix Men’s Tennis team when they produced the school’s best season in recorded history. 

The Knights won their pre-season tournament and beat Portage Northern for the first time in over 15 years to finish the season with a record of eight wins and seven loses. A large part of the team’s success this year can be attributed to the second year coach, Pip Hawkins.

“It was pretty historic, Norrix has only won two games at most in the last 15 years or more,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins won the Division 1 Coach of the Year award for Region 8 due to her outstanding work in turning Loy Norrix into a winning program. On top of this, the team won their own tournament at the start of the year and started their season off on a high note.

Senior captain Thomas Clark was proud to win Loy Norrix’s first tennis trophy in years.

“It feels great because we are going to have a trophy that I can come back in like 30 years and say ‘I won that’,” said Clark.

Most of the season’s success is a direct result of the hard work the team put in during practice both before and after the start of the season. The team spent their Tuesdays and Thursdays over the summer working together doing lots of running, ball machine work and training for high pressure situations.

“We had more people playing during the off season and we had some freshmen who came in ready to work with some experience,” Clark said, “I feel like we were more focused during practice and in past years we didn’t really believe in ourselves.”

Another thing that really made Norrix stand out was their foreign exchange program where they saw 3 players from both France and Italy join the team. One of these players is senior Edoardo Medici who came to Norrix from Italy. While in Italy, Medici played volleyball, but when he came to the United States,  he made the decision to pick up the tennis racket.

“I have to join a team of any sport because I love sport, and I need to do sport, so I think tennis was a good choice and I am happy because I made so many friends on the tennis team,” said Medici.

The team had a sense of togetherness this year and spent a lot of time focusing on team building doing team events such as a pickleball tournament at West Hills.

“On the last day of practice we did a tournament of pickleball with all the team. I played with my friend, another exchange student, Felix. He’s from France, and we won this tournament and the coach gave us a brand new racket,” said Medici.

Team spirit helped the Knights to end the season with a winning record. This LN tennis team won not only a trophy and many matches but also the respect of competing teams and tennis supporters around the community.

“We earned the respect of all the schools around, the tennis community looked at us completely differently,” said Hawkins.

This season has set the team up for success in the coming years, and the future of Loy Norrix Tennis looks bright.