Swinging through COVID-19


Photo by Christa Jophy

Senior Ben Grider plays a singles match during fourth period Sept. 15. The tennis team has been practicing drills and is focusing on skill-oriented training.

The fall tennis season officially started on Sept. 8 with a match against McKinney High School, after the season was halted due to COVID-19 last spring. The team will play its next match against Grapevine Sept. 18 at Hebron. 

COVID-19 derailed summer practice for many sports and forced athletes to adjust to new safety regulations implemented by LISD. The tennis team has tried to enforce social distancing and wearing masks in between practice to prevent the spread of the virus. 

“The hardest regulation would probably be wearing a mask because the mask reduces the amount of oxygen you can get to,” senior Ben Grider said. “In tennis you are running a lot, but you’re outside and far away from everyone so we can safely [play] without masks.” 

Senior John Hwang practices on the service line during fourth period Sept. 15. The team has been focusing on slices and volleys to improve their net game.
(Photo by Christa Jophy)


For new recruits, COVID-19 restrictions have posed challenges on both their training and their ability to bond with the team.

“Tennis is an easy sport to manage compared to many other physical sports in terms of dealing with COVID,” head coach CJ Cowgill said. “The biggest challenges have probably just been the lack of individual interaction, team building stuff, the camaraderie [and] things of that nature.”

Because of new protocols, students had less daily practice time to prepare for the season. Scheduling conflicts have arisen due to various in person and virtual plus students. The team has been meeting during fourth period to prepare for their upcoming match.

“The practice times have been cut down a little bit compared to what it’s been in the past, and that’s just to accommodate everyone’s schedules during these crazy times,” Cowgill said. “We try to make the most of all the time we do get on a daily basis.”

Sophomore Shivam Udani serves the ball during a practice singles match during fourth period Sept. 15.
(Photo by Christa Jophy)

The team expects multiple changes to take place at matches to comply with COVID-19 safety regulations. Policies for transportation to away games requires parents to take players to the matches and students who are not playing must maintain social distance and wear masks.

“Matches differ in that we are all socially distanced now,” Cowgill said. “It is definitely different but we are so thankful just to be competing. We are thankful for all the kids we have on the team currently and respectful of the ones who didn’t feel comfortable to participate at this time. Our philosophy is always coach the kids to the best of your ability.”  

Matches have been scheduled through October for the fall tennis season. However, after the tennis season was canceled early last year, some students worry they will not be able to complete the season. 

“I believe we are going to be shut down as a school decently soon so I’m not too confident about making it to the end of the year,” Grider said. “I would hate to end my final year on the team so abruptly like last year’s graduates. Hopefully we continue to keep playing and finish out the season strong.”